NEWS | June 20, 2018

Meet Your Guard: Tech. Sgt. Matt Dykas

By 2nd Lt. Chelsea Clark 158th Fighter Wing

Name: Tech. Sgt. Matt Dykas
Military Specialty: Marine Corps: 0311 Infantryman, 0317 Scout Sniper
Air Force: 2A772 Non-Destructive Inspection, 2A775 Low Observable Aircraft Structural Maintenance
Years of Service: 14 Years
Unit: 158th Fighter Wing
Hometown: Colchester, Vt.
Current Town: Avondale, Ariz.
High School: Colchester High School/2004

Q. Why did you join the National Guard?
A. I joined the Vermont Air National Guard to continue my military service after I returned home from active duty with the Marine Corps. I didn’t want move every few years in the active component and I like how in the Guard you could stay in Vermont.

Q. What do you do in the Vermont National Guard?
A. I started off in non-destructive inspection and my job was to inspect parts of the aircraft that are prone to cracking. I also analyzed the engines oil so we could monitor any parts that might start wearing down. Two years ago I cross trained into low observation aircraft structural maintenance. Now I maintain the skin of the aircraft making sure it remains stealth.

Q. What do you do for civilian work?
A. I am a civilian technician that wears the uniform everyday just like Active Duty. We work side by side with active-duty personnel with a few caveats. Our pay and benefits are different, however we can remain at one duty station for as long as we choose.

Q. What do you think is the greatest benefit of being in the National Guard?
A. I wanted to start a family and not have them travel to every base that the active duty sends me to. The greatest benefit of the National Guard is the ability to remain home (Vermont) for the duration of my career.

Q. How has being a National Guard member benefited you in your local community and job?
A. Being a part of the state quick reaction force and getting called out during natural disasters such as Hurricane Irene was one of the most rewarding moments in my career. I like how the Vermont Air National Guard is dedicated to the state of Vermont as well as the rest of the country. 

Q. What is your most memorable military moment?
A. I’ll never forget my first firefight on Christmas Eve, 2004. I was in the Marines straight out of high school and less than a year later I was in Afghanistan exchanging fire with the enemy. Second would definitely be flying in the backseat of an F-16!

Q. How long have you lived in Vermont?
A. I moved to Vermont when I was in 7th grade. My dad worked for IBM and transferred up from Poughkeepsie, NY. Even though I’m originally from NY, I still consider Colchester my hometown.

 Q. What is your favorite aspect of living or working where you do?
A. I’m currently out in Phoenix training on the F-35’s. Besides being able to work on this awesome jet, the Phoenix area has so many entertainment options. I go to a lot of sporting events. Even though I’m a die-hard New York Giants fan, I’ve been to multiple Arizona Cardinals games and have adopted them as my 2nd team.

 Q. What has surprised you about the Vermont National Guard?
A. Most military units will claim they are “the best” or “the tip of the spear” and because of that it seems to lose its meaning. While traveling around country and meeting different military members, once they hear I’m from Vermont they immediately mention the Green Mountain Boys. I was shocked that a small unit from Vermont could have such renown across the country. 

Q. What is your favorite part about serving in the VT National Guard?
A. The Vermont Air National Guard truly is a second family. After being away for the past two years, I recently came home to visit. I genuinely miss working with these great people and am excited to return next year. The amount of support I’ve received while being away and when I came back to visit is indescribable.

Q. How many push-ups did you get on your last physical fitness test?
A. I always max out the push up portion of the Air Force Physical Fitness Test.

Q. Ask a question for the next Soldier or Airmen?
A. Would you rather have a tank or a jet, why?