BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts --
Although the roles of a first sergeant and flight line avionics technician are extremely different, Master Sgt. Marylin Morales manages to do both, which has helped her develop as a member of the 104th Fighter Wing.
Morales has been a member at the 104FW for almost 19 years. She initially enlisted as an avionics flight line technician, a job her father had at the 104 FW before her. About a year ago, Morales also took on the position of being a first sergeant on drill weekends at the wing.
“It’s a night and day difference,” said Morales. “In one, you’re learning about a machine, and in one you’re learning about people and they are very, very different.”
Morales said that although the jobs are different, as you progress in rank, you need to be aware of what is happening with your people too.
“As you progress in military rank, you’re put in higher positions,” said Morales. “Even if you’re technically proficient, you’re going to get to a supervisory level where the human aspect becomes more important to understand and be able to manage to make your people more effective themselves. I don’t think you can rise in rank being just technically proficient at your job. You have to learn the people side.”
Morales said that some of the most rewarding parts of being in her job are helping people and helping get the F-15 Eagles up in the sky.
“You’re recognized for being in uniform, you’re recognized for your contribution to society and every time a jet takes off that you’ve touched, you’re like ‘I contributed to that,’” said Morales. “The sense of being part of something bigger, being part of something important, is very rewarding to me.”
The opportunities for growth at the 104 FW are an important part of being a member of the Air National Guard, said Morales. You’re dropped into situations that you might not go after yourself, and they help you develop.
“You’re put in these situations, and you would be surprised at how many times you can rise to the occasion. The military gives you the resources so you could meet the requirements and meet the mission,” said Morales. “Learning that as a young woman was not something that was intuitive to me. With this, you are put into situations where you are given the opportunity to rise to something that you wouldn’t have tried on your own.”