Story and photography by Airman 1st Class Susan Roberts
Not every person in the military can claim to have multiple relatives who have served or are currently serving in the military. Airman 1st Class Kyle Guthrie a technician in the 7th Component Maintenance Squadron B-1B Lancer avionics back shop, is fourth generation military. His parents, grandfathers and great-grandfather all served in the armed forces.
His mother, father and both grandfathers served in the Army, and his great-grandfather served as a Merchant Marine.
“I’m doing something that my entire family can relate to,” said Guthrie. “I can call up my parents and can tell them about what’s going on in my life, and they understand. That’s not something a lot of people in the military can do.”
According to a Pew Research study, 61 percent of Americans have immediate relatives who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. Adults who are under 50 years of age are less likely to have family members who served in the military.
“Carrying on the family legacy does make me proud,” said Thomas Guthrie, Kyle’s father and a retired Army master sergeant of 20 years. “Not many families can say that in today’s time. He made his decision to support his country. It’s great!”
Although his parents and grandparents served in the Army, Guthrie decided to pursue his own military career through the Air Force. However, the decision to join the Air Force wasn’t easy for him. He decided to enlist almost a year after graduating from high school.
“Actually growing up around it made me not want to join because we moved so many times, and that’s not a lot of fun when you’re a child because you have to leave your friends,” said Guthrie. “But as I got older, I learned to appreciate that my mom was in the military because it brought our family a lot of great opportunities. You see this entirely different side of the world as opposed to being a civilian.”
While his mother was the biggest influence in his decision to join the military, Guthrie also said working and living on Ramstein Air Base in Germany solidified his decision.
“I couldn’t imagine not being in a military community because that’s all I know,” said Guthrie. “I take pride in it. Some could say I’m carrying on the family business.”
As a B-1 avionics back shop technician, Guthrie is responsible for repairing and testing electronic transmitters that go into the B-1. Without these transmitters working correctly, the aircraft is unable to perform countermeasures utilizing its defensive avionics system.
At his shop, Guthrie helps in any way that he can to build up his flight, either through setting the standards for work quality or hosting a public speaking exercise for other airmen.
Guthrie also volunteers as the president of public relations for the Dyess Toastmasters and represents Toastmasters during Wing Right Start briefings, a presentation that welcomes airmen of all ranks to Dyess and informs them of different organizations across the base.
He advises those who do not have any family members in the military but are considering the military as an option, to go ahead and join. His mother, Linda, agrees.
“We are a military family that has served proudly for over 50 years of combined active duty service over a span of approximately 100 years,” said Linda Guthrie, a retired Army lieutenant colonel of 24 years. “What better way to demonstrate your patriotism and sense of duty for your country by serving in the military?”
With such a rich military and family history, Guthrie feels he has a good head start on his own accomplishments and goals within his career.
“This is just the beginning,” said Guthrie. “I feel really good about where I’m going in the Air Force, and I’m excited to see where it goes. I think I’m going to do great things, whether it’s big or small. My goal is to leave things better than how I found them.”