KALAMAZOO, Mich. –
From Missouri to Texas to Michigan, a Michigan Air National Guard member is taking advantage of the educational benefits provided through the Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MINGSTAP).
Senior Airman Seven George, with the 127th Security Forces Squadron, 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, is currently working on his third degree.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, and mostly raised in Texas, George became a Michigan resident in 1993. Before becoming a nurse, he took an alternate path to fulfill his aspirations.
“I earned my bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University of Michigan (U of M), and then went back to school to study music,” he said. “I started that degree at Bowling Green State University until my teacher accepted a job at Penn State and I transferred with her.”
“I almost finished my degree at Penn State, but because of tuition costs, by my fourth year, I couldn’t afford it and enlisted in the Marine Corps," said George.
While in the Marines, George became part of the only drum and bugle corps currently serving in the Armed Forces, serving on the Commandant’s Own.
“At the time, the jobs were limited but the Marine Corps had a spot, so I auditioned for it, received it, and that is how I got into the Marines,” said George, adding that his instrument is the euphonium baritone.
After leaving the Marines, George’s career took another path.
“I started working in web design since I had a communications focus with my general studies degree,” he said. “Then in 2008, everything crashed and I couldn’t find a job as no one was spending money on web design at that time.”
“In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to do something healthcare-related and wanted to attend either medical, physician assistant, or nursing school,” he said. “I began taking prerequisite classes until I figured out what I wanted to do and ended up choosing the nursing route.”
George transferred to the U of M-Flint nursing program and received his nursing license in 2018 working in the intensive care unit until later transferring to become a dialysis nurse.
To help pay for school, George took advantage of some of the educational benefits afforded to Michigan Army and Air National Guard members. All Michigan National Guard members can be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, the GI-Bill Kicker, up to $14,400 in tuition assistance per year through MINGSTAP, and cash bonus incentives up to $30,000 for select military degrees and occupations.
The drive for education doesn’t stop there for the Airman.
“I am starting my master’s degree program in accounting and am using tuition assistance through the military,” said George. “I have the opportunity so I am taking advantage of that.”
The Michigan National Guard provides an opportunity for individuals to live in their communities while serving their country and state part-time. This enables Guard members to pursue full-time education, employment, and other personal interests or goals. For George, serving meant something else to him.
“I missed being a part of something a lot bigger than myself,” he said. “The lifestyle and all the meaning that goes into serving—I missed that once I left the Marines. I knew I wanted to get back into the military and was looking at different options, and Security Forces was one of those at the time.”
“I had a ten-year break in service after serving with the Marines and wanted to be able to shoot weapons again,” said George, adding that he also received a reenlistment bonus for Security Forces.
“What I love about Security Forces is the opportunity to travel, for example, I would have never have had the opportunity to go to Japan on my own, and that was where my first time traveling with the Guard took me,” he said.
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/.