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NEWS | March 19, 2024

National Guard service opens doors to full-time employment for new 91B

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

When Spc. Ricky Wright joined the Virginia Army National Guard alongside his twin sister, Faith, it opened up a new world of possibilities. For high school, Wright attended Dinwiddie High School, as well as Rowanty Technical Center in Carson, Virginia. At Rowanty, he picked up a plethora of automotive skills, as well as an Automotive Service Excellence certification, while he was there. Given that background, it made sense for Wright to enlist as a 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic.
“I joined the National Guard because I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, along with always wanting to join the military,” Wright said. He joined June 23, 2023, and quickly shipped to training, part of which was waived due to his ASE certifications.
“Training was a good experience,” Wright said, explaining that he enjoyed his time at Basic Combat Training and that it served as a good mental test. “[Advanced Individual Training] for me, with my ASE certifications, it sped up my AIT from 17 weeks to only seven, so I didn’t get the full AIT experience, but that’s okay. I enjoyed every second of it and I had great leadership from the instructors and the drill sergeants.”
After he got home from training, Wright was assigned to the 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, but knew he needed to find a full-time job. His father, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Wright, works at Fort Barfoot, and suggested the junior Wright look for a technician job at the Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site, based at Barfoot. Wright went online to, and applied for a job as a machinist, and officially started Feb. 13, 2024.
“So far, I love it,” Wright said. “I love it here as I’m learning a lot of different fields of work, not only machining.”
He said he’s learning how to do bodywork, welding, fabrication, woodworking, as well as machining.
In the Virginia National Guard, technicians fill a variety of roles that are critical to the organization’s success in locations across the state, including at 15 different maintenance shops.
Wright is now a dual-status technician, which means his eligibility for his full-time machinist position is contingent upon his continued service in the Virginia National Guard. That means only members of the Virginia National Guard can serve as dual-status military technicians. As technicians, Soldiers wear a military uniform, but are paid on a different scale. They’re eligible for health, dental and vision benefits, paid holidays, military leave, and at least two weeks of paid vacation each year.
“I can’t be more thankful for the love and support of my family,” Wright said, naming his parents and his girlfriend as being key to his success. “They have been the background through this whole process from the time I enlisted until now.”
To learn more about full-time employment opportunities in the Virginia Army National Guard, click here.

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