Father, son enlist during Armed Forces Weekend at Indy 500

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Justin Andras
  • 122nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
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.