CAMP JOHNSON, Vt. –
Name: Lt. Col. Doran Metzger
Military Specialty 67J Aeromedical Evacuations Officer
Years of Service: 21
Unit: Joint Forces Headquarters
Current Town: Milton
High School/Graduation Year: Milton High School, 1992
College/Graduation: University of Vermont, 1997 / Saint Michael’s College, 2009
Q. Why did you join the National Guard?
A. I joined the Vermont Army National Guard for two reasons after college; to serve my country and to learn a vocational skill. Two of my grandparents served in the Army during World War II setting an example of patriotism and service that I was determined to follow. Also, after finishing my undergraduate degree, I sought a vocational skill to round out my education and job skills. When I first joined I was hoping to become an air traffic controller, instead I earned an opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School and flight training to become a helicopter pilot.
Q. What do you do in the National Guard?
A. Most of my career has been spent as an officer and a helicopter pilot. I have served in various positions in the VTARNG aviation including as a section leader, platoon leader and as a detachment or company commander. As a MEDEVAC pilot I have both deployed overseas to Iraq and performed disaster relief missions here at home in Vermont. Currently, I serve as the state safety officer.
Q. What do you do for civilian work?
A. I work full-time for the Vermont Army National Guard and serve as the safety and occupational health manager. Safety is a top priority in the Vermont Army National Guard. It is my job to manage our safety programs and to provide safety education and training to help reduce injuries and equipment damage during our operations and training.
Q. What do you think is the greatest benefit of being in the National Guard?
A. Outside of the usually highlighted benefits of great career opportunities, leadership training and all around personal growth associated with membership in the Vermont National Guard. I have always considered the retirement benefits and the ability to participate in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan as an enormous benefit for a National Guard member. A young twenty-something Soldier or Airmen can truly secure financial well-being later in life by taking advantage of this underappreciated benefit throughout their career.
Q. How has being a National Guard member benefited you in your local community and job?
A. When I first joined the Vermont National Guard I was just out of college and had recently begun serving in the state legislature. The leadership skills and training that I received from the military were applicable to both the work that I was doing in Montpelier and other positions I held in private sector jobs. Skills such as planning, public speaking and critical thinking were all further developed through my military service.
Q. What is your most memorable military moment?
A. While flying Vermont Army National Guard helicopters from Texas back to Vermont, one of our fuel stops was in Columbus, Ohio. As we were getting fuel and inspecting our helicopters a small plane pulled up alongside of us. The pilot jumped out and came over to hello. As he approached I realized it was John Glenn. That chance meeting and short conversation will always be a highlight.
Q. How long have you lived in Vermont?
A. I have lived in Vermont and Chittenden County my entire life for 44 years. I grew up in Milton and graduated from Milton High School in 1992.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of living or working where you do?
A. As a helicopter pilot I have been able to experience Vermont’s amazing landscape to degree few other people can claim. Whether it is fall in the Northeast Kingdom while the leaves are changing color, winter on Mount Mansfield with its snow and ice covered trees, or if I am simply flying along a busy Lake Champlain in the middle of summer, it is always a spectacular view no matter how many times I have seen it before.
Q. What has surprised you about the Vermont National Guard?
A. Like most organizations, the best thing about it, is the people. As a twenty-two year old joining the Vermont National Guard that really wasn’t a consideration. At this point in my career it has been one the greatest benefits. The Vermont National Guard is truly a tight knit family and I am thankful to be part of it.
Q. What is your favorite part about serving in the Vermont National Guard?
A. The most satisfying moments of my career have come while flying missions in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Vermont following Hurricane Irene. Our local Vermont Army National Guard unit transported over 1,200 patients during my yearlong deployment. The impact the Vermont National Guard had on the lives of those patients and the families who got to see their loved ones again is immense and something that makes me extremely proud.
BONUS: Ask a question for the next Soldier or Airmen?
Q. What is the biggest misconception your friend’s have about your military service.