MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gregory Mason, a services specialist assigned to the 169th Force Support Squadron, is reputable by his peers to be self-motivated and fun.
“A lot of people focus on the food aspect of services, and they don’t think about the other four major areas,” said Mason.
A Bangor, Maine native, Mason grew up in a single-child family and enjoyed playing sports.
After high school, Mason served six years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as a fire direction control specialist for field artillery assigned to the 1st of the 109th Field Artillery Division.
During his service in the Army National Guard, Mason achieved “Top Honor
Graduate” in his Advanced Individual Training and a perfect attendance award. His unit also earned the “Hamilton Award” for being the best artillery unit in the country. He served one deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before separating from the service in 2012.
Mason and his wife moved to South Carolina in search of new adventures and warmer weather. He accepted a position as the lead counselor at a maximum security prison in the upstate.
Mason earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from West Chester University and has achieved his certification to counsel veterans as well as his certification in post-traumatic stress disorder counselling.
Although he is passionate about rehabilitating prisoners, he began to feel like something was missing.
“I missed the military,” said Mason. “It offers extreme experiences.”
Mason made the decision to join the South Carolina Air National Guard in April 2014. After only three months of being stationed at McEntire, Mason completed all volumes of his Career Development Courses and is ready to test for his five-level certification.
Mason was recently assigned as the NCOIC of outdoor recreation for the Morale, Welfare and Recreation sector of the 169th Force Support Squadron’s Services Sustainment Flight.
“I challenged Mason, and the rest of the folks on that crew, to come up with events and see what they can do to have a positive impact on the Wing,” said Lt. Col. Jim Roth, 169th Force Support Squadron commander.
Events can be anything that boosts the spirits of Airmen, including sporting tournaments, card games or any other activity that increases morale for the services Swamp Fox.
“It gives Airmen something to look forward to outside of the job. It builds networking and competitive edge in the military while increasing comradery through structured events,” said Mason.
MWR is one of the five categories under the services Air Force Specialty Code; it has unfortunately been pushed to the wayside in the past at McEntire. With the return of many Airmen from deployments, Roth felt it was time to rejuvenate the MWR program.
"MWR is a Services muscle we haven't really flexed at home in the past. It's a mission set employed primarily on the road. So, the goal is to give our team members an experience that better prepares them for a role they’re likely to play in a deployed environment,” said Roth. "We're starting small. Sergeant Mason and his team will experiment with organizing and conducting MWR events at the unit level and will gradually expand their scope."