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Like father, like son

  • Published
  • By Robert Fox
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
"Vela, time to go do your 'I love my Daddy' thing," Tech Sgt. Eric Nicholson yelled when it was time for Airman 1st Class Mathew Vela's interview. 

Airman Mathew Vela was stationed here for technical school with the 361st Training Squadron until Sept. 15. At the same time, his father was a training manager for the 365th TRS. 

Airman Vela said during basic training, the rest of his flight thought it was "cool" that he and his father were in the Air Force at the same time. After graduation day from basic training, father and son were in blues together for the first time. 

"I like it a lot, having a picture (with) both of us in uniform," Airman Vela said. 

During technical school, Airman Vela said his instructors poked fun at him when they found out his father was active duty. 

"They would say things like 'if you mess up, I know where your dad works,'" he quipped.
His Father, Master Sgt. Jon Vela, said the taunts come with the territory. Even he has not been completely safe from jeers himself, he said. 

Airman Vela said he took Junior ROTC in high school, but he joined mostly because his dad was in the Air Force. When he was growing up, he said he would stop by his dad's office and learned a lot about the Air Force that way. 

"I was glad (when he joined)," Sergeant Vela said. "I see each step he goes through, and it's like a replay of what I went through." 

Airman Vela said he has liked being stationed so close to home. He said it was easier to contact his father if he needed help, advice or answers. 

Sergeant Vela said he was happy his son was stationed here for training because it is good to have family close. 

"At the same time, I wonder if my being so close gave him a crutch other young Airmen-in-training don't have," Sergeant Vela said. 

He said since his son joined the Air Force, they have had more to talk about and their relationship has gotten even stronger. 

Airman Vela said he hasn't decided yet if he is going to make a career of the military, but he would probably stay in after his first four years are up. 

Sergeant Vela said his son has suggested to him that he will stay in. The sergeant said his son has even flirted with the idea of officer candidate school. 

He said if that is what his son wants he will succeed. But, when he would have to salute his son, he chuckled -- "By then I'd have to retire."