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SCANG Spotlight, Staff Sgt. Latoya Washington

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Latoya Washington, an aviation resource management specialist assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Mar. 11, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ashleigh S. Pavelek)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Latoya Washington, an aviation resource management specialist assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Mar. 11, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ashleigh S. Pavelek)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C.- -- Since 2008, Staff Sgt. Latoya Washington has been a valuable asset in making sure that McEntire's pilots are soaring to new heights and always fit to fight.

"When I am assigned to a task, I set myself to a very high standard to get the task done to the best of my ability," said Washington.

As an aviation resource manager, Washington is responsible for the maintenance of pilots' "go or no-go" flying status and keeping record of all of their flying histories.

"We notify the pilot if they need to have their equipment checked, flight physicals or physiological training," said Washington. "We make sure the pilot knows the rules and regulations of flying the F-16 and make sure they are meeting their monthly training requirements," said Washington.

Washington, a Summerville native, is the second of four children in her family. She's had a strong sense of leadership and the desire to help others since childhood. 

During her senior year of high school, she was elected the president of the Future Farmers of America Club, an agricultural organization. She also established fundraisers to keep the school's grounds clean.

The notion of joining the military began in high school, when Washington would periodically see the ROTC Sergeant Major in the hallways.

"He would always say, 'We could surely use you in ROTC,'" said Washington. 
She continued her education at Francis Marion University to study nursing. Shortly after beginning her studies, Washington switched her major to social work and transferred to Coker College to receive her bachelor's degree.

   Washington's desire to serve in the South Carolina Air National Guard became prevalent during her college years when she read an article in the college newsletter about an enlisted Airman in the National Guard.

With her interest kindled, she called her first cousin, Lawanda Oliver, now a retired master sergeant, who was stationed at McEntire and worked as a personnel specialist. After Oliver told her how great being a Swamp Fox was, Washington wanted to become a part of the SCANG family.

"They [SCANG] really do have a family atmosphere," said Washington. "You feel like a valued person for the job that you do."

In October 2015, Washington was activated to serve during the South Carolina Floods.  She was attached to the Air Operations Branch at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and was responsible for the accountability of aircraft, flying or grounded. She was also responsible for monitoring the number and locations of members of search and rescue teams related to all of the branches of the activated military in South Carolina. 

Washington became a full-time technician in 2014 and has earned Airman of the Quarter awards in 2013 and 2014.  

Always eager to learn, she is currently working on her degree from the Community College of the Air Force.

  Washington has also volunteered her time with the Family Readiness Group to help Swamp Fox children at summer camps throughout the state.

In her spare time, she enjoys sewing and making clothes and dresses for herself and her daughter.

Washington reenlisted last January for three more years, and said that she plans to serve at McEntire for many more.