BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts --
Yoga instructor. Solar panel worker. Motivational speaker. Private pilot. Former professional athlete.
Tysha M. Wiggins is all of those things and recently became the newest crew chief at the 104th Fighter Wing when she enlisted on Oct. 11, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard base.
She joined the 104th FW on the day before her 40th birthday, which was also the same day as her anticipated wedding to Chimia Coleman. She joined on the last day possible, as the age cutoff to join the ANG is 39 years, 364 days old.
She chose to enlist at this point in her life because it is something she has always wanted to do, Wiggins said. She joined the 104th FW because of the people, she said.
“For me it was more about the people,” said Wiggins. “I look forward to coming to work. I look forward to serving my country and giving my family the opportunity to have an extended family.”
This has been a long-time coming for her, she said. She was offered a pilot slot to fly the F-15 Eagle after graduating from Smith College in an Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps program. She said she didn’t take the opportunity because her family and friends were not supportive of the decision.
“Now, I have a friend of 22 years by my side, day in and day out, saying ‘go after your dreams,’” said Wiggins, smiling and looking towards Coleman sitting next to her. “I’m manifesting that right now by making it happen. It’s like life is coming full-circle.”
Wiggins credited much of her being able to enlist before the age cutoff to Staff Sgt. Kayla Gallagher, Massachusetts Air National Guard production recruiter, who worked with other members of the MANG recruiting team to help facilitate the enlistment.
“A special thanks to Sgt. Schuster, Sgt. Gallagher, and Sgt. Compton,” said Wiggins. “They really went above and beyond in this process.”
Family is extremely important to Wiggins, said Gallagher. We discussed things like family events during the enlistment process.
“It’s not that we just welcome the new member,” said Gallagher. “We welcome the entire family.”
During the enlistment process, Wiggins and Coleman spoke to their daughter, London Lindo, about the 104th FW being their new second family.
“It’s a story of perseverance and resilience,” said Wiggins. “Just never giving up on your dreams and aspirations.”