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Careers, pride in service soar for 167th families

September 12, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

Editor's note: Certain jobs seem to run in some families. In this series of stories that began Monday and ends today, we feature families in which members share the same or similar professions that serve the public.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Senior Master Sgt. Ron Glazer joined the Army in 1985 for college money. When his son, Airman 1st Class Ron Glazer Jr. joined the Air Guard in 2006, his father was relieved.

"I knew he would have the great benefits of education and training. It put me at ease about his future," Glazer said.

Now, both men commute from Hagerstown to the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard in Martinsburg, W.Va.

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Ron Glazer Sr. spent six years in the Army, deploying during Desert Storm, then worked for an insurance company. But his company downsized, so Glazer joined the Air Guard 11 years ago and has worked there ever since.

"It's about service to country, pride in serving the American people," he said.

He said he didn't worry when his son joined, because "I know we have the strongest and greatest military in the world."

"Now I know our name will continue on in the military."

It helped ease his father's mind that Ron Glazer Jr. chose a career -- as a sheet metal mechanic -- with which the chance of deploying is small.

Ron Glazer Jr. was 17 when he joined. He didn't want to go to college, and the Air Guard seemed like a good career, he said.

"There is a lot of benefits," he said. And, he said, he wanted a job working on vehicles or planes.

"He's always liked working with his hands," Ron Glazer Sr. said.

After a couple of years serving, his son has decided he wants to be deployed.

"I want to travel, see what's overseas," he said.

But, he said, without enough maintenance people, the Air Guard hasn't yet granted his wish.

The Swartz family

Master Sgt. Dennis Swartz and his daughter, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Swartz, work in the same building at the 167th Airlift Wing. He is the budget analyst for the base; she works in the colonel's office.

Another daughter, Erica Herndon, served with the Air Guard for six years, deploying to Iraq, but left to start a family, her father said.

"I'm very proud having daughters that wanted to serve their country in some capacity," he said.

Dennis Swartz's father, Edward Swartz, served in the Navy for 11 years. Having heard stories from him, Dennis wanted to join some branch of the military, but he didn't want to go on active duty.

He saw the military as a good foundation for a career, Dennis Swartz said.

In 1972, he joined the Army Reserves and served for 13 years before switching to the Air Guard in 1985.

Swartz, of Kearneysville, W.Va., started working full time for the Air Guard in 1996.

Jennifer Swartz joined in 2001. She joined for the educational benefits and because she wanted to serve in the military but, like her father, didn't want to go on active duty.

"I just wanted to serve our country. That's what America's about," she said.

This spring, Jennifer Swartz, 24, will earn a bachelor's degree in computer networking from Mountain State University and, like her father, has the military as a foundation for a career.

"I have military experience and I'll have my degree," she said.

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