BOISE, Idaho - Senior Master Sgt. Virginia Holmgren, 124th Medical Group operational readiness superintendent, was promoted to chief master sergeant March 4, the same day her oldest son, Nathan, enlisted in the Idaho Air National Guard.
Holmgren began her military career with the Colorado Air Force Reserves at Peterson Air Force Base in 2003. After deploying to Iraq in 2008 and seeing the critical care air transport team in action, she became a respiratory therapist and joined the CCAT mission. She joined the IDANG in September 2017.
“I come from a long line of military service,” said Holmgren. “My dad retired after 23 years in the Army, my husband retired from active duty Air Force service last year and my brother works in the 124th Fighter Wing’s Cyber Operations Squadron.”
Lt. Col. Lora Bennett, the 124th MDG commander, said Holmgren has been instrumental in developing the unit’s CCATT mission — from organizing joint medevac training with the Idaho Army National Guard’s State Aviation Group to recruiting and training cardiopulmonary technicians and volunteering as the CCATT sustainment and training manager for the National Guard Bureau.
“She is truly an amazing leader, organizer and manager,” said Bennett. “She truly deserved this STEP II promotion.”
The Air National Guard STEP II Promotion Program was developed to provide promotion opportunities to exceptionally performing Guard enlisted leaders. According to Lt. Col. Bennett, STEP II promotions happen only twice each year across the wing.
“I came in for the benefits and stayed for the people,” said Holmgren. “We have some of the brightest Airmen here in the medical group and I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve them.”
As Holmgren finds herself at the top of her military career, she now has the opportunity to pass the torch to her son.
“I told him that while he’s trying to figure out life, you can join the Guard, receive money for education and get a good job,” said Holmgren. “His surgical tech job will be viable outside of the Guard as well.”
Despite his family’s legacy, Nathan said he’s never felt pressured to join the military.
“Since World War II, I’ve had family members serving in the military,” said Nathan. “So my decision to join was, in part, motivated by that. It’s a family tradition. But they’ve always been supportive of anything I’ve wanted to do and I made the decision to join. This is going to help me progress in life. I’m excited to see where it takes me.”
Over the next several months, Nathan will head to Air Force Basic Military Training and attend technical training to become a surgical technician. From there, he’ll return to Gowen Field to work with a six-person ground surgical team designed to provide damage control, resuscitation and surgery in austere environments.
Receiving a military education in the medical career field is just the start for Nathan.
“I’m hoping to get my master’s in nursing, and the Guard is going to make that possible,” said Nathan. “I’ve always wanted to help people. Now, I’ll be able to do that through the military and then on the civilian side.”