LANSING, Mich. –
Joining the Michigan Army National Guard (MIARNG) was an easy choice for Pfc. Daniel Gomez but his journey to the National Guard was not a typical one.
“I was born and raised in Mexico and moved to Texas at the age of 13,” said Gomez, who serves as an interior electrician with the 1436th Engineer Company, based in Montague. “I became a U.S. citizen at the age of 13 and began speaking English at the age of 18 when I moved to Michigan.”
“I wasn’t proficient in English while I lived in Texas but became more comfortable with the language after moving to Michigan with my uncle,” he said.
Enlisting on March 26, 2020 at the age of 18, Gomez graduated from Lawton High School in June 2020 and left for basic training and advanced individual training in the fall at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Gomez was introduced to electrical work by a family member and wanted to advance his technical skills in that field.
“I learned the basics of the trade from my uncle and really enjoyed it,” he said. “I pursued being an electrician in the MIARNG to enhance my knowledge, skills and work experience.”
Army interior electricians are proficient in transformers, circuit breakers and electrical breakers but his true passion goes beyond the tasks of the job.
“I just like to help people and I love learning,” said Gomez. “I want to learn as much as I can from my Guard experience to improve my abilities.”
With passion for helping others, Gomez wants to pursue his dream career which is in the medical field.
“For my civilian job, I want to be a physician assistant,” he said. “I start college this fall at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and will later transfer to Western Michigan University to complete my educational requirements.”
The Michigan National Guard (MING) 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.
Additionally, the National Guard offers benefits to further education. All MING 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 or the GI-Bill Kicker and receive cash bonus incentives up to $30,000 for selected military occupations.
“I am planning on using the educational benefits that are offered with the National Guard,” said Gomez. “I am also using my experience in the Guard to enhance my resume with new experiences and responsibilities.”
Although thousands of miles away, Gomez’s mother fully supported his decision to enlist.
“My mom, who lives in Mexico, is really proud of me and my accomplishments,” said Gomez. “She always says, ‘Be careful what you do and to always do the right thing.’ I know I’m doing that with the Michigan National Guard.”
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/.