Why I joined the Alaska Air National Guard? BY BENJAMIN WAGAR
Many friends in Paraguay ask me, -- Why did you decide to serve in the U.S. military if you’re a Paraguayan? – Let me explain.
My name is Benjamin Wagar, better known as Benji or SSgt Wagar. I was born in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay to American parents. I grew up speaking English and Spanish and even a little Guarani occasionally. Although I have friends and family in the country, I never felt Paraguay to be my home. At 19, I decided to move to the United States to pursue my college studies in Illinois. After spending three years living in there, I realized it wasn’t what I was looking for either. That’s when I came to Alaska. Although the climate is opposite to Paraguay’s, the indescribable landscapes, plus the diversity of people and nationalities you find here caught my attention.
After two years in this great state, I felt that my work did not give me a sense of purpose or that I was not bringing something of importance to my community and I started researching military options. What left me with doubts was that I didn’t want to move again; Alaska was my new home. It was then that Alaska Air National Guard (AKANG) became the solution to my dilemma.
AKANG is one of the reserve components of the U.S. Air Force. And as such, it fulfills two different functions: to serve the US. but focused on service to the state of Alaska. Unlike the active component of the Air Force where each member serves a certain time on each air base (usually two to three years), AKANG members serve indefinitely without the need to move or change jobs. Plus, the job is on a part-time basis. More specifically, we work one weekend a month, with two additional weeks of training. You are possibly asking: “What kind of jobs are available on the Air National Guard?” We have more than 60 jobs ranging from computer to medicine, from civil engineering to aeronautical mechanics. We offer something for everyone.
The Alaska Air National Guard offers many of the same benefits or benefits similar to the US Air Force, but with some additional ones varying by state. For example, Alaska’s ANG offers to cover 100% of the university tuition at any state public university such as the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). It also offers the most accessible medical and dental coverage compared to almost any other job. But one of the most important benefits, in my opinion, is that the Alaska Air National Guard is a big family. With no need to move every two to three years, AKANG members work together for years. Thanks to this, we build better relationships and ties between our members. I met many members who become very close friends thanks to AKANG. Now, my job is to help other people between the ages of 17 and 39 years old, who want to make a difference by serving this great country and the state of Alaska to find their place in the AKANG. If you are interested in receiving more information about Alaska Air National Guard, you can contact me via call or text message (907) 231-9697.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE CO. Sol de Medianoche is a bimonthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska