That’s 242 years of service.

Meghan Overdeep
October 2, 2017

John A. Massey of Trussville, Alabama, recently enlisted in the Air Force's Air National Guard, continuing the military legacy in his family that stretches back, unbroken, to the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Members from both sides of his family have defended the flag in every major conflict since the country’s birth, and it’s a legacy he feels destined to continue.

His father, John Massey joined the Army out of high school, served five years of active duty and continued to serve in the National Guard until 2007, AL.com reports. He actually dissuaded John A. Massey from enlisting right out of high school, and encouraged him to go to college instead.

The younger Massey did just that, and graduated from the University of Alabama in 2016 with degrees in history and political science. But now, with a college degree under his belt, it was John A.’s turn to answer the call. Now, he’s completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and is in advanced training school now at Goodfellow Air Force Base.

"My dad always told me as a kid that the military was a good option, but he was actually one of the people who most protested my attempt to join the Army after high school, instead of going to college," John A. Massey told AL.com. "Maybe in a roundabout subconscious way, through frequent exposure to military—lifestyle, concepts, and jargon—I was influenced, but I have never felt coerced."

As a history and political science major, the younger Massey watched as Russia seized Crimea in 2014 and later as it meddled in Ukraine, and decided he wanted to "get serious about the national security field." Unlike his ancestors in the Army, he chose the Air Force because it fit best with his degrees.

He says he has always admired the "drive, selflessness and a sense of integrity," that comes from military service, and expects the same—or better—from himself.

"Every generation of the military, and for that matter in other fields as well, needs to be better than the generation that came before it," John A. Massey told AL.com. "Problems are only going to become more complex, and we can't turn back the clock on the world order built by my grandfather's generation, and preserved under a Damocles Sword by my father's generation."

Thank you all for your service.