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926th Group welcomes first non-prior service recruit

Amn Bond (left) celebrates his enlistment into the U.S. Air Force Reserve with his father, Army National Guard Sgt. Curtis Bond, during a swearing-in ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 12. Airman Bond, 926th Group's first non-prior military service recruit, is assigned to the 78th Reconnaissance Squadron.

Amn Bond (left) celebrates his enlistment into the U.S. Air Force Reserve with his father, Army National Guard Sgt. Curtis Bond, during a swearing-in ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 12. Airman Bond, 926th Group's first non-prior military service recruit, is assigned to the 78th Reconnaissance Squadron.

Amn Bond (right) shakes hands with Lt. Col. Stefanik after being sworn into the U.S. Air Force Reserve at a ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 12. Airman Bond is the 926th Group's first non-prior military service recruit.

Amn Bond (right) shakes hands with Lt. Col. Stefanik after being sworn into the U.S. Air Force Reserve at a ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 12. Airman Bond is the 926th Group's first non-prior military service recruit.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE -- The 926th Group swore in its first non-prior military service recruit during a ceremony here Dec. 12. 

Kyle Bond, now Amn Bond, celebrated his 22nd birthday by joining the U.S. Air Force Reserve to become an MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator with the 78th Reconnaissance Squadron at Creech Air Force Base. 

"My dad was in the Air Force, and I've always wanted to do it," Airman Bond said. "I'm excited and hope it will be fun like it was when my dad was in." 

His father, Sgt. Curtis Bond, is now serving in the Nevada Army National Guard where he works at the Armory Las Vegas Readiness Center in network operations. 

"I'm really proud of him; he knows what he wants," Sergeant Bond said. "I'm so excited about the amount of support from the unit already--it's just fantastic." 

Airman Bond first approached the Reserve recruiter in April 2008. He was shown a list of job openings where he selected sensor operator. 

He was required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, and was sent to a Military Entrance Processing Station in Phoenix, Ariz., to be cleared for service. The next step was to interview with the 78th RS. 

"We look at how ambitious someone is, if they seem quick to learn, and if they're willing to take the enemy on face to face," Lt. Col. Ronald Stefanik, 78th RS commander said. "The career field was explained to him in great detail--we need recruits to understand that even though we're not co-located where they are, taking the lives of our enemies is a fundamental part of what we do," he said. 

"Airman Bond is highly qualified test-score wise," Colonel Stefanik said. "I think he'll be a great fit for the unit." 

Airman Bond has a long road ahead of him to prepare to work with Reapers. He'll report to Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in March 2009. After the eight-and-a half-week BMT he'll attend a six-month-long Imagery Analysis Apprentice Course at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. This course will teach him basic imagery interpretation principles, techniques and procedures for imagery exploitation, reports and presentations. Once complete, Airman Bond will spend three and a half more months at a Formal Training Unit at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., where he'll receive additional instruction and his specialization as a sensor operator. 

The MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aircraft system that serves as a persistent hunter-killer against emerging targets. As a sensor operator, Airman Bond will work with a pilot to fly the aircraft from inside a ground control station, via a satellite data link, searching for enemy targets. 

Airman Bond and his immediate family moved to Las Vegas in August 2005. For the past two years he's been serving as a missionary in Africa, where he learned to speak the Xhosa language. 

With the breadth of the 926th GP's mission and several geographically-separated units, many positions are available to be filled. Some other critically-manned career fields and positions are:

Operations Intelligence
Tactical Aircraft Maintenance
Aircraft Electrical and Environmental Systems
Avionics Systems on F-16, F-15 and A-10 aircraft
Fighter pilots
Unmanned Aerial Systems pilots
Intelligence officers
Healthcare providers
Civil engineers
Judge advocate
Chaplain

To contact a recruiter about joining the 926th GP, call (702) 652-4965.