Umatilla native aims high in the Air Force
Amn. Pledge 1st Class Michael Archer, 20, reached a life-impacting milestone last year: he joined the U.S. Air Force!
Born in Bedford, Indiana, Gage moved to Umatilla in 2010 with his parents, looking for a fresh start and a break from the cold. Gage graduated as a bulldog from Umatilla High School in 2020, concluding a full prep career.
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Gage is the first in his family to join the military and says he decided to enlist because he wanted to get out of the house and learn to live on his own.
“My neighbor, Owen Walker, is in the Air Force,” Gage explains. “He gave me the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test), and after hearing about the ‘Aim High’ service from other veterans, I knew this was for me.
“I’m motivated thinking about future opportunities,” says the 2019 American Legion Boys State alumnus. “I have big plans on the horizon, and I can’t want to get started!”
Q: Did you play sports in high school or participate in any clubs or activities?
A: I played baseball, basketball, was on the bowling team and was a member of the Key Club. In baseball, I was number 8 and played wherever the coach placed me. In my sophomore year, I was in the top three in home runs in Lake County! In basketball, I wore number 54 and was a starting forward. In bowling, my best game in a game was a 255.
Q: Do you have any memories that stand out from your time at Key Club?
A: Being part of the Key Club districts has been an amazing experience. We had a lot of fun and got to meet so many new people and learn a lot about how to help others.
Q: You were part of the American Legion Boys’ State. Can you tell us more about your role?
A: First, I thank the post office for sending. The highlight was being elected Commissioner of Agriculture.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Fishing and baseball are my two favorites, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Q: What are you currently reading?
A: Common sense by Thomas Paine.
Q: What are your three best war movies of all time?
A: “Saving Private Ryan”, “Jarhead” and “1917”.
Q: Where did you go to training camp?
A: Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Q: Duty station where you are currently assigned
A: Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
Q: Highest rank achieved
A: Airman 1st Class – so far.
Q: What is your official job title?
A: I am an integrated avionics specialist for bombing/special electronic warfare and radar surveillance.
Q: Who was the best leader you were exposed to – and why?
A: The best leader I have been exposed to is Senior Airman Brandon Black, who was one of my supervisors when I arrived in Offutt. He made me feel welcome, and he and I have become good friends ever since. He taught me the way around the army and also how to enjoy my time there.
Q: Who are your heroes and why?
A: My parents, by far. They’ve been with me through thick and thin, and I can’t thank them enough.