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Father, son share Air Force journey

Airman poses for a photo next to a machine.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Moises Garrido, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment apprentice, works on a self-generating nitrogen servicing cart at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 6, 2019. Garrido wanted to serve his country since he was a kid and finally seized the opportunity at the age of 37. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin)

2 Airmen pose for photo after basic military training graduation.

(From left), U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Justen Garrido Guiffreda, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental systems apprentice assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and his father U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Moises Garrido, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment apprentice assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, celebrate basic military training graduation while on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. Justen and Moises Garrido both joined the Air Force in 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Airman fixes machine.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Moises Garrido, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment apprentice, works on a self-generating nitrogen servicing cart at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 5, 2019. Garrido joined the Air Force at the age of 37 alongside his son. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin)

Airman works on a machine.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Moises Garrido, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment apprentice, works on a self-generating nitrogen servicing cart at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 6, 2019. Prior to joining the Air Force at the age of 37, Garrido enjoyed working on cars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

For some, joining the Air Force at a young age may seem like the only option, but for others it only gets better with age. U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Moises Garrido, 19th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment apprentice, decided to follow his dream and serve alongside his son by enlisting in the Air Force at age 37.

Garrido always dreamed of serving his country, but the timing was never right. When his son turned 18 and had the same dream, they took the first step together and went to the recruiter’s office. He took his opportunity to serve with an added bonus of enlisting alongside his son.

“I thought it was ‘game over’ for me,” Garrido said. “When my son went to sign up, I found out the age limit to join was raised to 39.”

Before joining the military, Garrido was a key account manager for a distribution company in Puerto Rico. In his spare time, he enjoyed working on his car as well as fixing up his coworkers’ vehicles.

When Garrido had his son at 18, he realized it would be more difficult to join the Air Force.

“I’m very family-oriented, so I’m sure if I would have joined when I was 18,” Garrido said. “I would have gotten out after four years just so I could be with my kids. Now I plan on serving for 20 years.”

Even when his family and friends questioned why he wanted to join so late in his life, he knew that the timing was finally right to do what he always dreamed.

“What better age to join than my age,” Garrido said. “My son is already grown up. I’ve been to all his birthdays, graduations and holidays. My daughter is 15, and I haven’t missed anything with her yet.”

Garrido was a big influence on his son wanting to join the Air Force. Even though they were the first in their family to enlist, Garrido always believed in the need to serve his country.

“Everyone should serve,” Garrido said. “Most kids coming out of high school don’t know what they want to do with their life. I think the Air Force gives you guidance on what work is, what commitment is, and having core values.”

Garrido uses his years of life experience to mentor his fellow Airmen.

“I see other Airmen and I think of my son,” Garrido said. “He could be at his base and going through something. I would like to think someone would be there for him and give him some guidance. Other Airmen feel comfortable talking to me because we share the same stripes. They don’t feel intimidated coming to me.”

Through his persistence and love for his country, Garrido was able to make his dream a reality.

“If it is something you always wanted to do, just go for it,” Garrido said. “There is no downside to joining, even as you get older. It’s never too late to chase your dreams.”

 

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