MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Civilians can get a taste of life in the Air National Guard through a series of timed challenges and simulations.
The Air National Guard Mobile Experience is visiting Midland this weekend as part of a national tour, offering local participants a better understanding of how Guard men and women support both federal and state missions.
"It's important for the public to know about what we do," said Senior Airman Jeremy Taylor. "We're also letting people know about all the doors the Air National Guard can open for them."
He joined four and a half years ago to help cover tuition at Jackson State University and now travels with the Mobile Experience as a recruiter.
"My initial intent was to just join the Air National Guard, get them to help me pay for school and [eventually] part ways," Taylor told NewsWest 9. "But I came in, joined the family at the Texas Air National Guard and it's just been a great experience for me... I've never looked back."
The flexibility of Guard schedules was a "huge benefit" and afforded him the freedom to pursue higher education, he said.
"What a lot of people don't know is how much time you get for yourself," Taylor explained. "You can serve the nation and still live a normal civilian live in the Air National Guard because we operate one weekend a month, two weeks a year. That pretty much gives you the entire month and the rest of the year to do whatever it is you want to do."
Participants not interested in recruitment can still enjoy the virtual and physical challenges at the Mobile Experience.
Activities include pull-up, push-up and sit-up contests; security forces and tactical airstrike simulators; a medical challenge; an aircraft maintenance challenge; and an Xbox-programmed room that allows participants to "try on" various Air National Guard uniforms.
"These simulated challenges test their electronic, medical, mechanical, observational and spatial aptitudes, [as well as] physical strength, agility and responsiveness under pressure," said tour manager Kim Nowicki.
The Air National Guard Mobile Experience will be at the CAF Airsho on Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.