MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
Recruiters at the 167th Airlift Wing say that nearly 30% of the wing’s members have family serving or have served at the 167th. Members are often drawn to the wing by their own families and friends.
“The recruiters know exactly who I am. I’ve sent upwards of 20 people to the wing and I’m not sending just anybody,” said Master Sgt. Matt Ramsey, an air transportation specialist with the 167th. “If I find someone who’s got good values and good work ethic, it’ll make the team that much stronger.”
Matt and five other members of his family are actively serving at the 167th.
Chief Master Sgt. Todd Ramsey, Master Sgt. Matt Ramsey, Staff Sgt. Kelby Ramsey, Senior Airman Shayla Ramsey, Airman 1st Class Dylan Ramsey and Airman 1st Class Madison McGrew are all members of the same family currently serving at the 167th among several different sections. Their military roots have also been planted in other branches through previous generations.
“I think my family being so heavily involved in the military definitely was a reason I joined,” said Airman 1st Class Dylan Ramsey, 167th Security Forces Squadron. “They gave me the insider information on how things work in the military.”
Dylan, the newest family member to join the 167th, also expressed how the pride his family shares for serving the country brings them closer as a family.
Like many others at the wing, the Ramseys see drill weekends as not only an opportunity to accomplish the mission, but also as time to spend with one another and with friends they’ve made while serving.
“We get to see each other a lot more because of drill weekend, rather than only getting to visit on holidays,” said Airman 1st Class Madison McGrew, 167th Medical Group. “The time we share is limited, but we make the most of it.”
Family, at the 167th, takes on broader meaning however.
“The wing is one big family,” said Senior Airman Shayla Ramsey, 167th client systems specialist. “Everyone wants to see you succeed and see you do the best you can.” That is how this community of Airmen defines family.
This sense of family has allowed the 167th to become a home away from home for more than 1,200 Airmen and civilians that serve at the wing, regardless of their motivation for joining.
Although the Ramseys serve for a multitude of reasons, from benefits like college tuition assistance to the pride they feel for helping the community and country, there’s one reason they all have in common--an obligation to family tradition, a legacy they hope to continue throughout the generations.
“At the end of the day, I want to help shape and mold the future of the unit,” said Matt, a lesson he learned from those who have served before him. “That, to me, is the best way to build an organization.”
Chief Master Sgt. Troy Brawner, 167th Command Chief, explains that the Ramseys are just one of many families serving at the wing. “It’s overwhelming to see them serving in this capacity”, said Brawner. “We are not just a wing, we are a generational organization. It’s more than just a biological family.”
For the Ramseys and many other families serving in the West Virginia National Guard and at the 167th Airlift Wing, “One Guard family”, a motto used by the West Virginia National Guard, has a more significant meaning, truly demonstrating their impact on producing the best Airmen and warriors the state and nation has to offer.