Mom, son grow up in big Air Force family

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A family atmosphere has long been rooted in the 145th Airlift Wing and the Dietz family champions this statement. Senior Airman Jonathan Dietz, of the 145th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, is the youngest son of Chief Master Sgt. Susan Dietz of the 145th Medical Group.

Jonathan Dietz is deploying for the first time in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel as a crew chief on the C-130 Hercules aircraft, but he is different in that his mother has been there to support and guide him throughout the process.

“We’re always here,” said 1st Sgt. Jennifer Moreau, 145th AMXS. In the Guard we don’t move like active military does every two years. You grow up through the ranks with each other. It’s like a brotherhood or sisterhood or an extended family whom you visit once a month. We push each other to succeed much like a family would.

“I think she’s done a great job raising him,” she said. “He’s a good person and is making his own way by doing the work. It’s tough when you have a family member with such a big name,” Moreau said.

Susan Dietz joined the military in June 1980 and has witnessed both of her sons, David and Jonathan, follow in her footsteps.

As a child, Jonathan Dietz remembers, with nostalgia, his mother serving in the North Carolina Air National Guard.

“I used to come out here as a kid all the time with my mom,” he said. “I grew up here, and because of her, I knew I always wanted to join.”

Jonathan Dietz did just that and enlisted in June 2013.

“When I saw the name on the training roster, I recognized it,” Moreau said. “When he came back from technical training, I confirmed it. Yep, that’s her son. I made sure he understood I wouldn’t give him any leeway just because his mom is a chief.”

Jonathan Dietz recalls the reactions of his fellow Airmen after initially enlisting.

“It’s interesting having my Mom work in the same unit and they picked on me sometimes,” he said.

Despite the banter, he forged his own path and is now deployed maintaining aircraft readiness for tactical airlift missions.

With a demanding work environment, increased on-duty hours, and higher stress, a deployment offers more experience compared to the day-to-day home station missions. Moreau said with pride, “I think he’s going to come back with so much growth. He’s going to come back even better than where he is now. It’s great to deploy these younger Airmen because they come back ready for leadership and ready to become an NCO.”

Susan Dietz attended the departure of her son with more than 100 other members of the 145th AW. She hugged him on the flightline just before he boarded a C-130 to his deployed location.

“From a mom’s perspective, you’re always worried,” Susan Dietz said. “That’s my baby boy; he’s my youngest, so it’s a little scary to see him deploy, but he’ll be all right because he’s going with a great group of guys.”