Moorhead native Parker Wood is a senior studying elementary education. Currently student teaching, Parker will graduate from MSUM in December 2023 before attending basic training in March 2024 to be in the North Dakota Air National Guard.
Parker always knew in the back of his mind that he would be involved in the military in some way. With multiple family members who have served and a sister who is currently serving, he wants a career to go along with teaching.
"I like jobs that have a purpose. In education, you're teaching future generations of students and in the military, you're serving your country, helping improve and protect it," Parker says.
Parker ultimately decided to join the North Dakota National Air Guard because of the camaraderie. He felt that when he stepped on base, there was a tight-knit community filled with hard working and driven people.
Parker currently attends monthly student flight drill weekends. Student flight is a program for those who have not attended basic training yet. The program focuses on training and preparation for basic training.
After completing training, Parker will transition into a personnel role, assisting airmen and members of the guard with important paperwork, ID processing, background information, and communication so members can focus on their immediate jobs.
Something people may not realize is that military service can take on a variety of forms. “You could be cooking for people in combat, doing paperwork, or you could be defusing bombs. Although they’re very different, they’re all important,” Parker says.
Parker thinks everyone should consider joining the military. “They cover a large portion of college tuition and offer many benefits. It’s also doable with a full-time career,” he says.
Parker’s advice for showing appreciation on Veterans Day is this, “It’s important to recognize things we take for granted and to be grateful for what people have sacrificed for us. It can be a simple text to say, ‘thank you’; they really appreciate it,” he says.
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