South Dakota Air National Guard still recruiting during pandemic only with a few changes

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the country continues to fight the spread of coronavirus, our military continues to train to fight and defend our country.

The South Dakota Air National Guard is still recruiting and training new enlistees because its mission doesn’t stop.

The base at the South Dakota Air National Guard is off limits to the public for right now. The recruiting process is done online until a new enlistee is ready to raise their right hand and take the oath.

21-year-old Ashley Menor of Ramona wore a mask as she was sworn in this week into the South Dakota Air National Guard.

The COVID-19 outbreak wasn’t going to stop her.

“Truthfully, I’ve wanted this for awhile, so it had no effect on my decision to join. If anything it pushed me further to serve our state; I’m excited to join regardless of the pandemic,” Menor said.

When she goes to basic training, it’s going to look different with social distancing and protective masks, but that’s not all.

“When they do get down there, they are quarantined for 14 days with a restriction of movement,” Tech Sergeant Jordan Snyder said.

Snyder says class sizes have been reduced and so has the length of basic training.

It’s usually eight and a half weeks long; now the Air Force has reduced it to only seven and a half.

“I think now more than ever, it’s really important to recruit and get applicants into the 114th Fighter Wing. We have what’s called a dual mission, so not only for our overseas missions and things like that, but also the state mission in South Dakota to really help out in times like this when there is a pandemic. The mission does not stop; it’s more important than ever to get those new recruits so we can help out South Dakotans and be there and ready in a time of need,” Tsgt Snyder said.

That’s why Menor, who is majoring in psychology at SDSU, wanted to enlist.

“I do want to make a career out of it, put in 20 years maybe more. In the end, it would be nice to work with PTSD patients,” Menor said.

And now that she’s a member of the Air Guard, she’ll get her chance.

The South Dakota Air Guard hosts monthly Live Q&A sessions on its Facebook page for people who have questions about joining the Guard and its mission. Click here to visit that Facebook page.

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