Voices of the VaANG: Published Dec. 27, 2023 By Staff Sgt. Kellyann Elish Staff Sgt. Shomari Montague, 192nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons loader JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- Our last Voices of the VaANG for 2023 is Staff Sgt. Shomari Montague, 192nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons loader, who was recently selected to visit the White House along with Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia, during the holidays in recognition of his hard work over the past couple years in the Virginia Air National Guard! From winning the Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award at the national level, his role in the 192nd Wing’s Junior Enlisted Council, excelling in his first deployment, to filling in to expedite for active duty, managing different groups of Airmen to get the aircrafts loaded and off the ground, Montague has represented the 192nd Wing and the VaANG well! 𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦? 𝐀: I’m originally from the Bronx, New York, but spent a lot of time growing up in Virginia also. 𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐕𝐚𝐀𝐍𝐆? 𝐀: I joined the VaANG with the intention to serve the country, try a new career path, and be a great role model for my family. 𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥-𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐝? 𝐀: Before becoming a full-time member, I was an electrician for the Local Union 1430 and locksmith technician. 𝐐: 𝐃𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐲? 𝐈𝐟 𝐬𝐨, 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠? 𝐀: I do have a few family members that serve, from my dad being in the Marines and my sister being an officer in the Navy, plus a few others. 𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐕𝐚𝐀𝐍𝐆, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐚 𝐭𝐲𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮? 𝐀: My current job is a weapons loader (3-man crew). I drive jammers (a vehicle used to load missiles) to and from the F-22 Raptor with different munitions. A typical day consists of troubleshooting, installing, and uninstalling weapons systems of the aircraft. 𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠? 𝐀: Most of my best experiences from joining the unit have come from the trips I’ve taken with my unit, including TDYs (temporary duty stations) and deployments. 𝐐: 𝐀𝐬 𝐚 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐉𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐫 𝐄𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐥, 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐉𝐄𝐂 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐢𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐧? 𝐀: I’m currently the Treasurer of the Junior Enlisted Council, and my job is to maintain the funds for the group and help with different events throughout the wing. The JEC is a team of junior enlisted members that come together and collaborate on ways for younger Airmen and junior enlisted members' voices to be heard and learn ways to groom themselves into a successful military career path. 𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐨 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐇𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲? 𝐀: Going to the White House with my family was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed every moment there. It was fulfilling for me to share that experience with my sons, mostly being that I have made even bigger shoes for them to fill. It showed them what working hard and being resilient can do for you. It was an eye opening and motivational experience.