Twins 'bound' for ANG service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Twins from Clinton, Miss., put their promising academic and athletic futures on hold to answer the call to serve.

Airmen 1st Class Michael and Stephen Greer joined the Air National Guard to become C-17 Globemaster III loadmasters after high school at age 17 before continuing their education. The twins received scholarships to the University of Mississippi for academic accomplishments as well as their athletic prowess in pole vaulting, while attending Clinton High School.

The brothers, will serve with the 172nd Airlift Wing at Jackson ANG Base, Miss. They were able to get their scholarships deferred until completing loadmaster training at the 97th Training Squadron here.

"(Joining the Air National Guard) stemmed from us wanting to give back to our country," Stephen said. "We're really patriotic. We've always felt a sense of wanting to do something more for the country than the country doing something for us. It's kind of how we've been raised."

That drive to do something more led the brothers to great success in the classroom and in pole vaulting.

Stephen, who has been pole vaulting since the eighth grade, shattered the 25-year-old state record with 14 feet and 11 inches during his sophomore year at Clinton High School.  Stephen holds the record for the state of Mississippi and for his high school.

As for Michael, who has two years less experience, he always ranks close to his brother at state track and field meets.

In 2008, the brothers competed in the National Junior Olympics where Stephen took first place and Michael took ninth in the pole vaulting event.

The brothers were also honor roll students in high school - Michael had a 3.4 grade point average and Stephen had a 3.8 GPA.

The twins attributed a lot of their success thus far to their parents, especially their father, who has supported them in everything they have done.

"We got into the sport kind of as a joke," Michael said.  "We were talking with our father about all of the interesting things that we do. We were just sitting at the dinner table talking and my dad was like 'how about we try pole vaulting? So ,he hooked us up with a coach from a nearby college and we started taking some pole vaulting lessons. That led to one thing and another and we ended up getting good at pole vaulting."

Their father, Tony Greer, even bought a building where his sons could practice throughout the year and during bad weather.

"We had our own pit in the building so we did a lot of indoor pole vaulting during the off-seasons," Michael said. "We quickly excelled at the sport and started raising the bar for pole vaulting in Mississippi."

According to Larry Hurd, the brothers' C-17 loadmaster instructor, the work ethic they developed in high school has served them well throughout their training.

"[Their attitude] made them both easier to teach because they were able take the critiques real well, and they made adjustments when they needed to," he said. "They took all the information and applied it to the training and did real well."

The brothers said that a long commitment to the ANG is definitely in their future.

"Pole vaulting is something great that we love doing and we want to excel in it through college, and if we're good enough we want to maybe even try to go further ─ to the Olympics," said Stephen. "But we're definitely going to try to stay with the military and the loadmaster job and hopefully become pilots."

Their father said he is not only proud of his sons' past accomplishments but also of their chosen adult path.

"I'm incredibly proud of what they are doing in the Air National Guard," said Tony. "As far as pole vaulting goes, at the end of the day it's just running and jumping. We're committed to it and we're passionate about it and as a family we love going and competing. But they have made a commitment to serve their country and that is what we are most proud of ─ the men they are becoming."