Georgia Guardsmen continue a family tradition

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Regina Young
  • 116th Air Control Wing, Public Affairs
Being in the military is a proud tradition for the Gellins family. Two sons and their father serve in the Georgia Air National Guard together and the military lineage in the family dates back to the Revolutionary War.

2nd Lt. Brett Gellins:
What led you to join the Guard?
I wanted to be like my dad, Master Sgt. Kenneth Gellins. The uniform and greasy hands appealed to me. After high school I joined the Air National Guard and worked as a crew chief on the E-8C Joint STARS for about seven years.

Would you recommend being enlisted or officer? After about three years of working full-time, I realized I had achieved my goals in the enlisted ranks. By using an education program called Tuition Assistance, which paid for school while I was on extended Title 32 Active Duty orders, I earned my degree. The decision to become enlisted or officer is a decision based on personal preference and goals. I feel my prior enlisted experience gives me an advantage over those without experience on how to manage people.

Senior Airman Kacy Gellins:
Why did you join the Guard?
I was the complete opposite of my brother. I wanted to work on computers and be a techy, not greasy, so I went to college first. When there was more school than money I came home but the job market was bare. My dad and brother kept encouraging me to join the guard and I joined in 2009. I had the opportunity to work in the 116th Communications Squadron managing the personal wireless communication systems as well as a few other programs. Recently, I was hired as a full-time Active Guard Reserve, Title 32 Federal employee.

Master Sgt. Kenneth Gellins:
Give us a summary of your military career. I wanted to be like my dad who served in the military and I thought about the lineage of Gellins' who served during the Revolutionary War era. I joined the Air Force in 1981 and served on active duty until 1987. After my stint in the Air Force, I came back to Georgia and joined the Air National Guard in 1989. I became a full-time, dual-status, Civil Service technician in 1990 with what is now, the 116th Air Control Wing.

What about the Air National Guard appealed to you? I was thinking about the future. I thought I'd work one weekend a month, two weeks a year and earn a retirement.

When you joined the Air National Guard did you know about or envision becoming a full-time technician? It wasn't until I got knee deep into the guard that I learned about Civil Service technicians. It opened my eyes. It's the best kept secret in the military.

You are truly a Guard family. What is it like to serve together in the Guard? Being a technician in the guard is awesome. I'm proud of my sons. We've got our roots here and our families are very supportive. The whole Gellins family is dedicated to supporting and volunteering in the community.

What do you like to do as a family outside the Guard? Brett coaches softball for his church and my wife and I volunteer for holiday and community programs throughout the year. There is a program called 'Computers for Learning' for which Kacy volunteers. Also, we're big Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fans so we go to a lot of the games together and as a family we go to church and play softball.