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Mother, Son Join Virginia Air Guard’s 192nd Wing Together

  • Published
  • By A.J. Coyne,
  • Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

HAMPTON, Va. - Two of the Virginia Air National Guard’s newest recruits are 17-year-old Emmanuel McClain and his mom, Tobye McMillian, who took the oath of enlistment from Col. Brock Lange, commander of the 192nd Wing, Sept. 18 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

“This is really cool,” Lange said as he prepared to administer the oath to mother and son. “This is one of the first things I get to do as the wing commander.”

McMillian, who is rejoining the military after an 18-year break in service, will serve in the Virginia Beach-based 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, or RED HORSE, Squadron.
After completing Air Force Basic Military Training and technical school, McClain will serve with the Langley-based 192nd Maintenance Group.

“Every Airman is a recruiter,” Lange explained to mother and son. “We have a team of people to get you through challenges and to work together. Always communicate with us so we can remove barriers so you guys are ready to take the fight to the enemy when you need to.”

McMillian, who works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a budget analyst, served 10 years in the active-duty Air Force and was stationed at Joint Base Andrews.

“I actually got out because I was pregnant with Emmanuel,” she said. “I was due with him in October and I got out in August.”

McClain, who graduated from high school this year, is interested in studying cybersecurity at college. His work supervisor is retired from the Army and motivated him to consider joining the military to help pay for college.

Once McClain and his mom started looking into his joining the military, McMillian realized it was something she could pursue again.

The two, who live in White Plains, Maryland, credited Virginia ANG recruiter Staff Sgt. Ewa Lach for making their dual enlistments happen.

“I was thinking about coming back in, but I didn’t know I could,” McMillian said. “As he started looking into it, I began asking more questions. Then I was told there was an opportunity for me, too. We weren’t thinking about doing it at the same time, but Staff Sgt. Lach made it so easy that we could do it together.”

Enlisting this time was a little different for McMillian. She asked more questions and paid closer attention than she did more than 25 years ago.

“I don’t remember all this stuff last time,” she said. “I do think things have evolved and become a lot more transparent now so that you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going and when you’re going. And maybe because I’m older now and paying attention.”

Lach has been with the 192nd for a year, serving as a recruiter since April. Before that, she was in the New York Air National Guard.

McMillian and McClain were referred to Lach by someone she served with in New York who is now at Joint Base Andrews.

“The Guard is one big family, so it’s good to make sure we have everybody sharing good information,” she said.

In addition to a mother and son, Lach is working to enlist two best friends into the 192nd Wing.

“Recruiting is a lot about family and referrals, so I’m glad that that’s working out,” she said. “I want to make sure someone’s first experience when they’re going in is the best it can be.”