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New Hampshire National Guard Airman leads by example

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson,
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

SEABROOK, N.H. – On a dreary day outside the Seabrook Emergency Room, the roads are slick with slush and hail and the temperatures fluctuate in and out of single digits. Luckily, the waiting room is warm and empty inside the sliding doors. A nurse bustles in from the cold and Senior Airman Devin Kentwallace greets her with a vibrant smile. 

Kentwallace is an aerospace medic with the 157th Air Refueling Wing. 

She managed the front desk at the Portsmouth Hospital Seabrook Emergency Room for five weeks, supporting New Hampshire’s current COVID-19 relief mission. However, her efforts in supporting the state and the nation are two years and counting. 

“One of the most attractive things about the Guard for me is that we get to go so many different places and help in so many different capacities,” she said. 

Kentwallace enlisted in the New Hampshire Air National Guard in 2019. Soon after she returned home from basic and technical training, the vaccine rollout began in the winter of 2020. 

U.S. Army Capt. Ray Youngs, the officer in charge of the Concord vaccination site, said newly-trained Kentwallace gave the most vaccines at two of the busiest sites in the state.

“She was my max vax-er,” he said. “A high speed and high energy Airmen, the kind you would love to have a whole squad of.”

After the COVID missions ended in July, Kentwallace went to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to help incoming refugees. While there, she stood up the Afghanistan refugee temporary hospital and housing.

“It’s something new all the time,” she laughed. “Now, it’s nice to be able to help out at home.”

Capt. Jacob Ricciotti, the officer in charge of the seacoast region for Joint Task Force Winter Surge, said Kentwallace uses her experiences to be a multifaceted and well-rounded member of the Air National Guard.

“She’s one of those Airmen who, every time, raise their hand and volunteer for a mission,” he said, adding she gets better at every job she’s given. “We have been thrilled to have her.”

Kentwallace enlisted in the Guard to help pay for nursing school. While she serves, she takes online classes at Great Bay Community College and has applied to their nursing program, which starts in the fall. 

“Going to school, being away from family and trying to balance everything can be tricky,” she said. “Honestly though, putting on the uniform, going out into the world and helping people has been the most rewarding thing.”