AMC Warriors Recruiting Warriors: Alaska Outreach

  • Published
  • By Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

Air Mobility Command continued to spread Warrior Heart culture across the United States with a visit to Alaska, May 14-15. 

This recruiting trip was part of AMC’s “Warriors Recruiting Warriors” initiative, which focuses on connecting with tribal natives and showing them opportunities the Air Force has to offer. 

“The goal was to come up here and interact culturally with the Alaska Natives,” said Maj. Gen. Gary McCue, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander of Air Mobility Command. 

Airmen from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and AMC Headquarters shared their Warrior Heart culture, and Alaska Natives explained challenges they face when joining the military, including gaps in native cultural awareness. 

“Something that could really help [recruitment] is education on native communities. I’ve met a lot of people on base here at JBER, that didn’t know native communities still exist,” said Alyssa Arcane, a teacher at the Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

“As a native person, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going into this space, telling my stories, and being there when nobody knows [my culture exists].” 

This two-day event focused on increasing native recruiting efforts, promoting Air Force career opportunities, decreasing entry-to-service barriers, and recognizing Native Alaskan veterans. Students from local schools were able to talk with Airmen, see STEM exhibits, and walk through static aircraft, giving them a front row seat to life in the Air Force. 

“I didn’t know there were so many options in the Air Force. I was talking to the SERE guy and now I’m like maybe I should join,” said Andrew Murray, from the Alaska Military Youth Academy. 

Murray emphasized the importance of events like this, saying, “This really opens our perspectives. I never knew half this stuff existed. I literally just talked to a lady about night vision for a good five minutes and I loved every second of it. When you bring out cool toys like this and you’ve got people to talk to, it definitely sparks interest in all of us."  

McCue also visited Kotzebue, an Alaskan village located north of the Arctic Circle, with other AMC and Indigenous Nations Equality Team leadership. The immersive experience provided insight into Native Alaskan subsistence culture and the unique challenges they face including access to medical care, law enforcement, education, and transportation.

“The Air Force visiting with so many of our youth, elders, and community leaders shows a commitment on their part to learning more about the urban and village life and brings awareness of any barriers they may have to a life of service,” said Angela Startz, an INET representative and Inupiaq Native Alaskan.

INET was established in March 2021, under the Department of the Air Force’s Barrier Analysis Working Group. They exist to support policy change and education for Alaskan Natives and American Indians at the Air Force level. 

INET and AMC have partnered on several trips in the past, including visits to the Navajo Nation and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

McCue reinforced the purpose of these recruiting efforts, saying, “I hope we made a great impression on them and that they would want to join the [team]. We’re always looking for the best and brightest to join our Air Force in whatever capacity. Just pick the job that they want to pick and then come on board!”