Army Green to Air Force Blue

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

They say that if you find a job you enjoy, you may never really “work" a day in your life. This is true for one diligent Moody Airman who transitioned from Army National Guard to the Air Force to find the right fit in a job he not only enjoys, but one in which he excels.

Finding the perfect fit can sometimes be difficult, and in the case of Airman 1st Class Tanner Giroux, 75th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) avionics technician, branching out from the Michigan Army National Guard to the active duty Air Force was a better fit for his goal of a 20-year military career. 

“I was kind of convinced by my dad,” said Giroux. “I joined the Army National Guard because I wanted [to be in] the military, but I didn’t want to leave home. I joined the Air Force because I realized I wanted to leave and branch out.”

The Michigan native served a total of five years in a construction capacity with the Army before seeking a job within the Air Force. Though his time with the Army came to an end, he did not leave empty-handed and says that the lessons he learned as Tanner Giroux the Soldier have continued to serve him as an Airman.

“We really focused on the leadership aspect in the Army,” said Giroux, who had reached the rank of Sergeant (E-5), serving as a heavy equipment operator before he began his journey to the Air Force. “I’ve tried to hold on to the leadership lessons I got. Now, as an E-3, I use them and even teach my peers or newer Airmen. ”

Today, Giroux is considered by his leadership to be a sharp avionics troop who continues to use all the Army has taught him.

“I think that Airman Giroux’s prior service has helped him,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Doiron, 75th AMU specialist section chief. “You can see his leadership abilities daily, whether its when he is running [PT] sessions or taking what he has learned and being able to train others in a quick amount of time.”

While he feels that the Air Force is a better fit for his career, it was not a simple or quick transition for Giroux. It took him more than a year and a half to obtain the conditional release necessary to switch branches.

“It was a difficult process and it is something that one has to really want to pursue,” said Giroux. He went on to detail the level of persistence necessary to get it done, obtaining multiple signatures and reminding individuals to push the paper work. “I had an NCO in my unit that I texted daily to see if he had heard anything.”

Now settled into the Air Force, he has found he enjoys the avionics career field, despite the contrast from his previous Army occupation, and sees its direct impact on the mission.

“You look at everything in the cockpit and all but three panels are maintained by avionics. Avionics has a huge impact on the mission, especially for close air support, because we work with [numerous systems] within the jet,” Giroux said.

Specifically, he has developed a niche for the wiring of the 75th AMUs A-10C Thunderbolt IIs.

“I really enjoy wiring. It’s a 180 [degree turn] from before I joined the Air Force when I didn’t want anything to do with anything electrical because I didn’t understand it.”

Gaining an understanding and subsequent interest in wiring is another example of Giroux’s natural ability to meet a challenge head-on, a quality his leadership speaks highly of.

“Since day one, we have seen his drive to learn everything as fast and as safe as he can.” Doiron said. “He has great work ethic.”

Receiving such high praise as a young junior enlisted member, it is clear that Giroux has some major goals and aspires to retire from the Air Force.

“I plan on doing 20, 20 plus—no matter what,” said Giroux. “I would like to continue to pursue my bachelor’s degree in construction management and commission as an officer.”

It wasn’t easy, but Giroux transitioned from Army Green to Air Force Blue and is now doing a job he enjoys while implementing the mentality his prior service provided him to succeed.

It may have taken some time and a lot of persistence, but with the Air Force, he has found the puzzle where he fits.