Alaska Air National Guard officer shares story with Service High JROTC

  • Published
  • By David Bedard
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK -- A 176th Wing personnel officer visited Robert Service High School Navy Junior ROTC cadets April 15 at the school’s Anchorage campus to share her story of military service.

Alaska Air National Guard 1st Lt. Laurel Foster, 176th Force Support Squadron Force Development and Education officer, spoke with cadets, shot archery, and retired the school’s flags with the cadet color guard.

Foster is an alumnus of the school’s NJROTC program, and she said she gained a desire to join the military through the leadership curriculum.

She joined the Alaska Air National Guard as a Security Forces law enforcement Airman, serving as a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance marksmanship instructor and deploying to Iraq where she served as a .50-caliber machine gunner before reclassifying as a paralegal with the Judge Advocate General. She commissioned as a Security Forces officer before transferring to the 176th Force Support Squadron as a personnel officer.

Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Tom Foust, Service HS NJROTC naval science instructor and coach of the school’s riflery team, said he was impressed with how quickly Foster learned how to shoot a bow despite having no archery experience.

“To put things into perspective, Lieutenant Foster never touched a bow before today,” Foust said to the cadets between sets. “But by applying her past marksmanship instructor experience, she quickly mastered archery.”

While she was a cadet at Service, Foster attended the Northwest Leadership Academy in San Diego where she learned skills like sailing, rappelling and rubber rafting with the Navy SEALS and other Navy Sailor instructors. She encouraged the cadets to relish the unique experiences they gain in NJROTC.

“My advice is to take advantage of every opportunity that you can while you are in JROTC,” she said. “Because you don’t get many of those opportunities even when you come to the active duty or National Guard worlds."