Adopting the family business, answering the call to service

  • Published
  • By Timothy Sandland
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. – Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Allen Nancarrow’s career in the profession of arms is rooted deeply in the service of his family. Following in the footsteps of his mother, father, and others, Nancarrow continues to carry the family legacy of service into the 21st century.

Joining the Air National Guard in 2008, Nancarrow was inspired to lead a life of military service through the examples set for him by many members of his family, but also from the deep feelings of patriotism surrounding the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I am fortunate to come from a long line of people who have served,” said Nancarrow. “My father served as a crew chief and retired as a master sergeant and my mother also served, which is where they met. My uncle was a chief master sergeant and my grandfather was an Air Force officer. Military service is in our blood. Ultimately what made me want to join was the attacks on Sept. 11. Since then, I had a deep desire to serve.”

His father, retired Master Sgt. Greg Nancarrow, recounted the joy he and his wife experienced adopting Allen.

“While I was stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea, from 1988 to 1989, I brought my wife over so we could look into adopting a child while stationed there,” Greg said. “After nine months of searching and applying through an adoption agency in Seoul, we were blessed and excited to adopt Allen when he was only a day and a half old.”

Starting his service as an Air Force Security Forces Airman, Allen Nancarrow embraced his career with a sense of pride and commitment but also with the knowledge that he had those who came before him - his family role models - who looked to him with that same sense of pride as he carried their collective torch of service.

“Security Forces is one of the most robust fields in the Air Force,” Allen Nancarrow said. “Many people think that it is just checking ID cards at the gate, or patrolling and enforcing speed limits and laws. It’s so much more than that.”

He said Security Forces deploys in support of base defense, maintains a strong security section for home station assignments and keeps the base populace qualified on weapon systems in support of mobilization.

“Basically, if it pertains to keeping the force protected, then Security Forces are involved,” Allen Nancarrow said. “It requires a lot of manpower, a lot of effort, and a ton of focus.”

Over a dozen years, Allen Nancarrow worked his way through the ranks, joining the senior enlisted corps by achieving the rank of master sergeant, just as his father had.

“Allen always wanted to outrank me, which is what we as parents always want for our children - to do better than us and have a wonderful life,” said Greg Nancarrow.

Allen Nancarrow decided to pursue a commission in the same career field that had already given him so much. He applied for and was accepted to Officer Training School (OTS) and was recently sworn in by his former commander, Col. Lisa Ahaesy.

“When Lieutenant Nancarrow asked me to administer the oath upon his graduation from OTS, I was truly humbled to be part of a ceremony that would officially transition one of the best NCOs I’ve ever known to who I believe will become one of the greatest officers I’ll ever serve alongside,” said Ahaesy.

Allen Nancarrow has had many role models and mentors throughout his career and called out several, including Ahaesy, Lt. Col. Kenneth Nunley, 1st Lt. Christian DiNoia, Chief Master Sgt. Marc Vercellone and Senior Master Sgt. Bryan Burger. In reflecting on his mentorship, he recognizes the importance of taking time to listen and learn.

“Be a hard charger but take a second and really listen to the information that is being given to you,” Allen Nancarrow said. “When you have the opportunity to hear from senior leadership, jump at it. They can drop nuggets of knowledge that will really stick with you.”

Being named a distinguished graduate and earning a leadership award from OTS, it’s easy to imagine how far he can carry his success.

“Allen is smart, kind, and extremely hard-working, but most importantly, he cares about people,” Ahaesy said. “The Massachusetts Air National Guard is blessed to have Allen as its newest lieutenant, but the Airmen he will lead are even more fortunate.”

Since being adopted in South Korea, Allen has been inspired by his family’s service and now inspires them with his.

“It’s amazing how far Allen has come from the time when he made our family lives whole, to this point in time as a second lieutenant in the USAF. He has worked so hard to get where he is now,” said Greg Nancarrow. “We are above and beyond proud of him for all of his past and current achievements, and all the new ones he’ll accomplish in the future.”

Thinking about family, Allen Nancarrow recalled one of his fondest memories.

“I was fortunate enough to be coined by Gen. David Goldfein with my father present,” Allen Nancarrow said. “My father had served under Goldfein when he was the commander of the 555th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Having my father there to see me coined by the chief of staff of the Air Force was an amazing feeling.”

Serving in the Air Force is often a family business, and for the Nancarrows, business is well in hand.