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Local airmen come home for RAP duty

Dusty Ricketts
dricketts@thedestinlog.com

PACE — Military recruiters understand one of the best ways to influence recruitment is bringing back local graduates of military training to talk to friends who are still in high school.

Two recent enlistees have taken advantage of the Recruiter Assistance Program and are back to assist the Air Force recruiting office.

Airman 1st Class Kyle McLaughlin from Pace and Airman 1st Class Garrett Stephen from Milton will get to spend some time at home while working at the recruiting office before going to their first assignments.

RAP is an active duty leave program managed by the Air Force Recruiting Service. The Air Force can grant up to 12 days of non-chargeable leave to airmen after they finish basic and tech school training if they agree to spend those days helping recruiters in their hometowns.

“I just finished tech school for Low Observable Aircraft Structural Maintenance,” McLaughlin said. “I’ll be working on stealth abilities of the F-35, F-22 and the B-2 bomber.”

After RAP duty, McLaughlin reports to a squadron at Hill Air Force Base located just south of Ogden, Utah. He said based on the type of aircraft he works on, he is in store for many deployments.

“In terms of overseas, I’d like to see Europe,” McLaughlin said, who is making the Air Force a career.

Stephen has enjoyed the Air Force for the eight months he has served.

“I like it, you meet a lot of great people,” Stephen said.

Stephen’s family has a long tradition of military service. His grandfather, father and cousin have served the country.

“We help the recruiter by supervising (vocational aptitude) testing, we go to schools, we helped at Locklin Career Day,” Stephen said.

Stephen completed tech school training to become a crew chief on C-130 aircraft. That is just the beginning of what he needs to learn. Although it will take months of on-the-job training to reach his goal, he looks forward to the challenge.

The next assignment for Stephen is at Kadena Air Base, Japan. He has never been out of the country and admitted his mom was feeling a little anxious.

“That’s where the Air Force told me to go,” Stephen said.