LANSING, Mich.-- –
National Guard members join the military for various reasons. For some, it could be simply to serve their community, state or nation, to secure financial aid for college or to gain valuable work experience. One member of the Michigan Air National Guard (MIANG) pursued enlistment with the National Guard to secure affordable health insurance for his family.
Before enlisting in the MIANG, Senior Airman Bob Devisser spent eight years in the Marines. After his enlistment ended, he took a break to focus on spending time with family and a small business, but he found his way back into uniform shortly thereafter.
“I got married and decided to leave the Marine Reserves after serving for eight years,” said Devisser. “I took four years off but was convinced to enlist by a former Marine buddy of mine, who ended up joining the 110th Wing.”
“With my wife’s support, I decided to get back in and joined the Air National Guard,” he said.
Devisser, who spent his time in the Marines as a scout sniper, enlisted in June 2020 for six years and is now attached to the 110th Security Forces Squadron, 110th Wing, at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. He also runs his own business and found it difficult to find affordable insurance coverage for his family.
“The big reason I joined the Michigan Air National Guard was to have affordable health insurance for my family through Tricare,” he said.
Devisser, who lives in Allegan, is a subcontractor who manages a construction and food industry maintenance small business. Maintaining a work-life balance is important to him and the MIANG provided that balance.
“The Air National Guard is more flexible from a time commitment standpoint,” he said. “The Marine Reserves typically included overnight weekends while the Air National Guard is approximately 16 to 18 hours per weekend that I serve."
“This was a huge selling point to my wife and I as I should be able to have better balance between my civilian job and service with the Air National Guard,” said Devisser.
Originally, Devisser had his eyes set on a different National Guard career but found himself in security forces, which protect and defend Air Force, joint and coalition resources.
“I was looking at the sensor operator position but they didn’t have any openings so that’s when I became aware of the security forces role,” he said. “It was a better choice as it allowed me to continue to apply my interests in shooting and conducting field exercises.”
Transferring from prior service to the National Guard isn’t uncommon as service members understand the benefits of banking time towards retirement.
“I have eight years of service and if I serve another 12, I will earn retirement benefits,” said Devisser. “That is another benefit that helped me decide to enlist.”
Devisser has deployed twice to Africa while serving in the Marines and has yet another reason why he joined.
“I have a sense of pride and I feel like I am contributing in some way,” he said. “It’s a huge reason I joined, for service to the state and country.”
In addition to health insurance benefits, the Michigan Army and Air National Guard can offer financial resources for members. All Michigan National Guard members can be eligible for up to $14,400 in tuition assistance per year through the Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program, the GI Bill, the GI-Bill Kicker and cash bonus incentives up to $30,000 for selected military occupations.
Individuals looking for more information about how serving in the Michigan Army or Air National Guard can offer great opportunities are encouraged to contact recruiters at: Michigan Army National Guard recruiting, www.miarmyguard.com, 888-906-1636, the Michigan Army National Guard app, or Michigan Air National Guard recruiting, 1-800-432-4296 or Facebook at https://facebook.com/MIANGRecruiting/.