Airman's Lineage Spans Three Generations
(February 9, 2011)
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, Feb. 7, 2011 – Growing up,
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Paxton knew it was only a matter
time before he would follow in his family's boot prints.|
Though family lineages in military service
aren't uncommon, the Paxtons stand out for the
way three generations chose to spend part of
their Air Force careers.
Paxton is now
going down the same path chosen by his father
and grandfather as a military training
"Even when I was in high
school, I knew I was going into the Air Force,"
said Paxton, who serves in the 323rd Training
Squadron. "And I always knew at some point I was
going to be a TI, because I thought it would be
cool to be a third-generation TI."
Paxtons' military training instructor lineage
started in 1970, when the sergeant's
grandfather, Jack Paxton, arrived here from
From left, Jack Paxton,
Jr., Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Paxton and Jack
Paxton talk about serving as military training
instructors for the Air Force on February 2,
2011. USAF photo by Alan Boedeker
He joined the Air Force in 1954 to leave West
Virginia, he said, "because there was really
nothing for me there.” He spent four years as a
military training instructor here before
retiring and taking a civilian job on the base.
It wasn't long after his father's retirement before Jack
Paxton Jr., one of six children, followed his lead into Air
"About a year after high school [in
1978], Dad woke me up one morning and said, 'You've got an
appointment at the recruiter's office,'" the younger Jack
Paxton said. "I didn't know what I wanted to do -- my dad
nudged me along. If I could go back and do it all over
again, I'd do the same thing."
The "same thing"
translated into an Air Force career. Twenty-two years later,
he retired as a senior master sergeant. He spent eight of
those years as a training instructor, section supervisor and
"I knew I wanted to be a TI because I
grew up with my father being a military training
instructor," he said. "The same thing with Jason -- he was
around this environment when I was an MTI."
who joined the Air Force in 2001, arrived here after
deciding the time was right to apply for a military training
instructor position. He was certified as an MTI in June.
Perhaps it was destiny calling when Paxton was assigned
to the 323rd TRS. The squadron is housed in the same recruit
housing and training building where his father spent six
years in the MTI corps. But that's not the only connection.
Jack Paxton Jr. was the MTI for his son's current
So when the three generations of Paxtons
gathered at the squadron recently, it was like coming home.
"Jason runs into people all the time who knew me," the
sergeant's father said. "When I see what Jason's going
through, it brings me back. And every time I walk in this
building, it's like nothing's changed.
"I saw some
trainees at parade rest [while I was coming in], and I
almost yelled at them," he added with a laugh.
his personality and that of his father suggest otherwise.
"Anybody who meets Dad and Grandpa knows they are very,
very laid back -– big time," Paxton said. "Dad never brought
it home. And if I didn't know, I'd have never thought
Grandpa was a TI."
His father quickly agreed about
his own father. "People look at Dad as the nicest guy in the
world," he said.
The sergeant's grandfather said he
enjoyed being an instructor and remembers his time here.
"I still go back to the TI business in my dreams,” he
said. “It never leaves you. Sometimes I wake up marching,
'Hut, two, three, four.' Some of it is TI and [some is from
All three Paxtons agree job
satisfaction far outweighs the long hours and demands
involved in being a military training instructor.
"Three generations of TIs ... says something about the career
field," Jack Paxton Jr. said. "I'd do it all over again.
This was by far the best job I ever had."
Article and photo by Mike Joseph|
502nd Air Base Wing
American Forces Press Service
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