Eight enlist at one time into Alaska Air Guard Published June 20, 2012 By Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Goldberger 176 Wing JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Eight new recruits enlisted en masse into the Alaska Air National Guard in front of the flag pole at the 176 Wing building here June 19. Col. Donald S. Wenke, commander of the 176 Wing, swore the group in. "I'm not surprised there are that many people wanting to join such a great organization as the Alaska Air National Guard," Wenke said. The recruits are scheduled to enter a variety of career paths including cargo plane C-17 load master, navigator, communications, and aerospace control and warning systems specialist. Two enlistees have positions as security forces at the 168th Air Refueling Wing, the Air National Guard unit at Eielson Air Force Base. Most of the recruits have full-time activities in the local community, such as Heather Ornquist, a medical assistant at the Central Mat-Su Fire Department and Alan Mulcahy, an air-traffic-control student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Some were looking for their first steps in their career. One 2012 high school graduate, Robert Wasser, chose an aerospace propulsion position with the 176 Maintenance Squadron. "Two weeks ago, I was sitting at a desk in high school," Wasser said. "And now I'm here." Family, friends and air guardsmen gathered around to support the recruits' enlistment. In the crowd were fathers in the air guard, an active duty wife and other supportive spouses, parents and children. Josh Ellis, a pilot in the civilian sector and navigator hopeful, had his father present. Ellis' father, Staff Sgt. Steven Ellis is an air transportation specialist with the 176 Logistics Readiness Squadron. "I'm proud of him," Sgt. Ellis said. "I'm glad to see that he's doing what he enjoys. You put a lot of effort into your children, and you hope that they're happy."