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Brother and sister serve together in Idaho Air Guard

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mason Allen stands next to his sister, Staff Sgt. Camas Villafana, in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II assigned to the 124th Fighter Wing, Idaho Air National Guard, at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, Feb. 20, 2020. Staff Sgt. Allen enlisted as a biomedical equipment specialist with the 124th Medical Group on Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Ryan White)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mason Allen stands next to his sister, Staff Sgt. Camas Villafana, in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II assigned to the 124th Fighter Wing, Idaho Air National Guard, at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, Feb. 20, 2020. Staff Sgt. Allen enlisted as a biomedical equipment specialist with the 124th Medical Group on Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Ryan White)

BOISE, Id. -- Staff Sgt. Mason Allen and his sister, Staff Sgt. Camas Villafana, were both responsible for each other’s decisions to become Idaho National Guardsmen. Allen, who was the first to join the military, chose to enlist in the active duty Air Force in 2014. He then influenced his sister’s decision to join the Idaho Air National Guard in 2015. Now the siblings have come full circle. This year, Villafana influenced her brother’s recent decision to join the IDANG after leaving active duty.

One would think Allen, a former fighter aircraft integrated avionics specialist for the A-10 Thunderbolt II, would be joining the IDANG to continue working on the A-10s. However, he is following in his sister’s footsteps and the two are serving side-by-side at the 124th Medical Group.

“I was considering joining the National Guard,” said Allen. “After talking to my sister, it allowed me to see what was available to me at this unit.”

While Villafana was looking into options for Allen, she learned about a recent vacancy her brother would be interested in. Allen did some research and decided she was right. Now, he’s enlisted as the MDG’s newest biomedical equipment specialist.

“The job title alone tells me that it’s going to be more mechanically inclined,” said Allen. “I feel like that is something I became exceptional at in the job I had on the active duty side. I am excited to learn how to put those skills to use at a different job and also learn a whole new set of skills that I can apply later in a civilian job.”

Allen will have to attend a technical training school, for about a year and a half, sometime after September. Until then, he will be working at the MDG starting this month. For the first time, Allen and Villafana will be working together.

Villafana first started working at the MDG in 2015, when she became a part of the IDANG family. She is currently working full-time until April, just in time to begin planting and irrigating on the farm she and her husband operate in Wilder, Idaho. They grow sugar beet row crops. She says she appreciates the flexible schedule that comes along with the IDANG, allowing her to farm. This was one of the benefits that originally appealed to her about joining IDANG.

“I wanted to join the military since high school,” said Villafana. “It kind of fell off my radar until after I graduated [college], when Mason joined the active duty Air Force. I started thinking about it more and talking to Mason. He was the one who helped me understand the different ins and outs of the different branches .I knew I wanted to join the Air Force, but I didn’t want to leave Boise.”

Villafana ultimately decided that joining the IDANG was the right choice for her and she’s glad she did. She says she enjoys the tight-knit relationships she has, which she may not have been able to develop, had she joined active duty instead.

Those close relationships and the flexibility with the IDANG, along with a new job opportunity, were ultimately what sold her brother on joining. Allen is looking forward to living closer to his family and continuing his Air Force career as an Idaho Guardsman alongside his sister.

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