When he graduated from high school, Kenny Rogers wanted to enlist in the Military because he felt it would be an honor to serve his country. He wasn’t sure which branch to join, however, so he talked to his parents about it. His father suggested the Air Force. After spending some time with a recruiter, Kenny was convinced that the Air Force was the right branch for him, especially after he found out that he could work as a weapons loader.
“The job sounded really, really cool. And being that young, I was taken into it. I can’t say I’ve made a bad choice. I enjoy what I’ve done, and I enjoy the folks in this career field.”
Being a weapons loader involves working on a flight line and loading munitions onto military aircraft. This position calls for attention to detail, a willingness to work as a part of a team and an ability to work effectively under pressure.
“There are multiple levels of day-to-day operations: getting the aircraft ready and making sure that they’re 100 percent ready to go, getting the munitions onto the aircraft and ensuring that they’re up correctly and safely, and accounting for those munitions. Safety is the name of the game.”
Kenny began his training in the field at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. Later, he was stationed in Germany and the Netherlands, and he deployed to Italy and Iraq. After 10 years with the Air Force, Kenny and his family decided to return to Maryland, so he requested a transfer to the Air National Guard, where he could serve close to home.
Unlike most members of the Air National Guard who serve part time, Rogers is currently serving full time at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Kenny’s full-time position within the Air National Guard is not common, but it shows the range of opportunities available within the Air National Guard.
“Once my four years are up, I have the option to put in to extend here, or I can go back to an Air Guard base that has a job opening that’s out there.”
In his current capacity, instead of working on the flight line loading weapons, Kenny helps manage others and answers questions about munitions policies and procedures.
“I have about 40-plus units that I deal with across the United States, and there are plenty of people out there that have a question. I deal with policies that are established. If you read it on the East Coast, it may be read differently on the West Coast.”
Although Kenny is spending a little more time at a desk in his new position, he appreciates the new challenges that come with the job. Whether he works indoors or on the flight line, he plans to stay in the Air National Guard and keep rising in the ranks.
“My ultimate goal is to make chief… it’s a good steppingstone, and it’s great résumé material.”