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Air Guard Service: Wildwood Woman Continues Family Tradition

A 2007 graduate of Eureka High School, this Wildwood resident studied business and communications at St. Louis Community College and now plans to attend Webster University or the University of Missouri.

As a father, Jay Kurtz, of Wildwood, said he was slightly amused when his 24-year-old daughter, Amanda, said she needed some discipline in her life. As a veteran of the Air National Guard and part of a military family, he was pleased.

So there was nothing but smiles when Amanda recently took the military oath of service and enlisted in the Missouri Air National Guard, following in the footsteps of no less than five relatives.

In addition to her father, Kurtz’s grandfathers and two uncles have served in the Air National Guard.

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“And while I have yet to confirm this definitively, I’m pretty sure we have a blood relative buried at Jefferson Barracks who served in the Civil War,” said Jay Kurtz, who enlisted in the Nevada Air National Guard in 1985.

He was eventually assigned to the 131st Weapons Systems Flight at Lambert-St. Louis Airport. A veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he ended his seven-year Air Guard career as a sergeant.

David and Ronni Kurtz, Jay’s brothers, also were stationed at Lambert; David with the 131st photo shop and motor pool, and Ronni with the 239th Combat Communications Squadron. Donald Jost, one of Amada’s grandfathers, served with the Air Guard during both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Another; Ron Phillips, of Florissant, served with a civil engineer unit at Jefferson Barracks.

“I worked in power production and then as an interior electrician,” Phillips said. “It’s wonderful to be back on JB property again.”

Like the rest of the family, Phillips is fully supportive of his granddaughter’s decision to enlist.

“It’ll be good for her,” he quipped.

Amanda acknowledged her family’s tradition of military service influenced her decision to enlist as well.

“It did play a role, but it was not the only factor,” she said. “A lot of my decision had to do with wanting more discipline in my life, more stability. I also want to jumpstart my career and get help with college tuition. Faced with huge college debt or having the National Guard pay for my education was really a no-brainer.” 

With her father and other family members looking on, Amanda was sworn into the Missouri Air National Guard by Maj. William Skaggs, chief targeting officer for the Intelligence Reconnaissance Division of the 157th Air Operations Group, headquartered at Jefferson Barracks. 

“I’m hoping to work in intelligence operations,” said (now) Airman 1st Class Kurtz. “That’s what I hope to study in college as well.”

A 2007 graduate of Eureka High School, Kurtz studied business and communications at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood and now plans to attend Webster University or the University of Missouri.

Upon earning her degree, Kurtz said she would “absolutely consider” becoming an Air Guard officer.

“It’s such a straight line for me,” she said. “It’s all being planned, and I like that a lot. I know I’ll miss out on certain things as a civilian, but my future is far more important.”

Editor's Note:  Patch appreciates the details provided by Bill Phelan, public affairs representative, 70th Troop Command, Missouri National Guard.

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