139th News

Maintenance officer retires after 21 years of service

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Adam Miller
  • 139th Airlift Wing

Capt. Joe Nelson of the 139th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard,, retired after 21 years of service during drill on June 5, 2021.

Nelson joined the 139th Airlift Wing in 2001 during his junior year of high school where he enlisted into the propulsion shop. Like many airmen, he enlisted to help pay for college and had planned to do his initial six years and get out.

“I quickly learned after enlisting that I really enjoyed my work, the people I worked with, and the fulfillment that serving brought me”, said Nelson.

After 16 years as an enlisted airman, Nelson decided that he wanted to become an officer with the maintenance group and in 2016 he did just that. The past six years he has spent leading the AMXS side of the group as a maintenance officer.

He deployed many times over his career and said that his deployments to Bagram and the COVID vaccination missions for Missouri were his favorites.

Nelson said, “All of the deployments I went on were memorable, but these two missions truly brought me a sense of accomplishment. I felt that my team and I truly made a difference in people's lives.”

When asked about advice he would give new members or those considering joining the unit, he said, “Your experience in the Air National Guard is what you make of it, you can choose to be involved and gain everything you can from the military, or you can just sit on the sidelines and get by.”