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Father, son enlist during Armed Forces Weekend at Indy 500

Patrick (left) and Taylor Affolder (center), recent recruits of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base, raise their hands for the Oath of Enlistment during a mass enlistment ceremony on May 18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The father and son duo could find no better way to begin their military careers than to enlist together at the annual ceremony held  during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Patrick (left) and Taylor Affolder (center), recent recruits of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base, raise their hands for the Oath of Enlistment during a mass enlistment ceremony on May 18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The father and son duo could find no better way to begin their military careers than to enlist together at the annual ceremony held during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Indiana military recruits stand for the playing of the national anthem during a mass enlistment ceremony on May 18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The ceremony is held annually at the speedway during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Indiana military recruits stand for the playing of the national anthem during a mass enlistment ceremony on May 18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The ceremony is held annually at the speedway during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Maj. General R. Martin Umbarger, the Adjutant General of Indiana, speaks to a group of Indiana military recruits during a mass enlistment ceremony on May 18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The ceremony is held annually at the speedway during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Maj. General R. Martin Umbarger, the Adjutant General of Indiana, speaks to a group of Indiana military recruits during a mass enlistment ceremony on May 18, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The ceremony is held annually at the speedway during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Trainees Timothy Barr (left), Patrick Affolder (center) and Taylor Affolder (right) from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base, pose with Senator Joe Donnelly and Maj. General R. Martin Umbarger, the Adjutant General of Indiana on May 18,2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Statewide military recruits were in attendance for a mass enlistment ceremony held annually at the speedway during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Trainees Timothy Barr (left), Patrick Affolder (center) and Taylor Affolder (right) from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base, pose with Senator Joe Donnelly and Maj. General R. Martin Umbarger, the Adjutant General of Indiana on May 18,2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Statewide military recruits were in attendance for a mass enlistment ceremony held annually at the speedway during Armed Forces Weekend. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

FORT WAYNE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Indiana -- The opportunity to serve your country is not a chance that everyone gets. However, for Patrick and Taylor Affolder the opportunity was one they could not pass. The father and son duo from Decatur, Indiana and recent enlistees of the 122nd Fighter Wing were proud to be part of a group of Indiana military recruits that joined to serve their country at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 18, 2014.

"Ever since I was 18 I wanted to join the service," said Patrick, a husband and a father of four kids. "I come from a long line of service members and now is a good time in my life to do it as well."

Patrick, 37, made the decision to join the Air National Guard for several reasons. Currently working as a nursing assistant at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Patrick pursued a job in the medical field for the ANG to utilize his civilian experience and potentially become an officer after he earns his Bachelor's degree.

"I love helping people," said Patrick. ,."What better way than to get training and excel in your life by serving your country.

Taylor, 18, followed his dad's choice to join due to the educational benefits they provide.

I have had a growing interest in becoming an underwater welder, said Taylor. I knew if I enlisted in the military they would provide the opportunity to pay for my schooling and allow me to do something interesting.

Taylor, aspiring to work in the oil industry someday, wanted to take advantage of the Indiana National Guard Supplemental Grant which allows ANG members to pursue their education up to a Bachelor's degree at any Indiana approved school by paying up to 100% tuition costs. He has enlisted to become a crew chief for the A-10 Thunderbolt.

The duo along with eight other enlistees of the Indiana ANG and others representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard participated in an annual event held at the speedway on Armed Forces weekend, one week before the famous Indianapolis 500 race. This event acknowledges those who have enlisted in the military that year.

The future of our country stands here, said Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the Indiana Adjutant General. Many in the past have said a voluntary military wouldn't work, especially during a time of war, but it has and here we are.

Umbarger, Indiana's highest ranking military officer, delivered the Oath of Enlistment to the 70 enlistees in attendance.

Upon making the decision to join the ANG, Patrick was skeptical on how enjoyable the experience would be. However, he says members of the wing have made the experience pleasant by providing meaningful information and support and making him feel part of a family. The Affolders are excited to begin their careers in the military and serve their country much like the thousands who have served before them.

"I want the opportunity to meet people, to grow as a person, and I can't think of any better place than here," said Patrick.