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Spotlight Airman seizes ANG opportunities

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Senior Airman Lauren Spencer, 150th Medical Group, is the spotlight Airman of the Month. The native New Mexican first considered joining active duty Air Force because she did not know the Guard existed. Meeting with an Air National Guard recruiter that was all it took to change her plans.

After working her way through the Military Entrance Processing Station, Student Flight, Basic Military Training and Technical School, she now works in health services management for the medical group.

“When you walk in, that's me in front desk,” Spencer said. “But you know, we do a lot more than just front desk, which I didn't know until after I graduated tech school. We're really a jack of all trades. I mean, there really isn't anything in a hospital or clinic setting that we're not involved in.”

Since joining the ANG, she sees a lot of differences between what she does compared to active duty Air Force.

“We're just provided with so many opportunities that active duty is not,” Spencer said. “I was I was on the COVID mission for about 21 months and active duty, they would have never gotten any of those opportunities. When we went down on our IRT (Innovative Readiness Training) last year to Mississippi, those (active duty) 4As, they're up in their outpatient records, and they're sitting at their computers. I got to go be hands-on and do patient care with all those people and make those connections and see different parts of the country I’ve never seen. I just I feel I am really blessed to be in the Air Guard versus active duty for sure.”

During the COVID mission, Spencer enjoyed working with the Army Guard and being able to assist in many positions outside of her normal job.

“My favorite thing about the Army Guard is if they're missing a spot, they'll fill it with a body and attempt to train up that asset,” she said. “So, I was able to volunteer for everything. You need somebody to do something, I'm right here. I was so lucky to work as an intelligence analyst for the JOC (Joint Operations Center).”

This fall will be busy for Spencer as she plans on marrying her fiancĂ©, whom she met in Student Flight, as well as graduating the University of New Mexico with two bachelor’s degrees.  From there, she is looking to apply to graduate programs and start a family and cross-train into a different career field. Spencer is taking advantage of all the Guard has to offer but is also giving back too.

“I joined the military because of me, and I definitely don't regret that decision at all. Being part of something bigger than yourself—it really drives you to be not only a better person for you, but for the people around you,” Spencer said.