NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Many airmen discover their path early in life. Some join the Air Force after graduating high school, and others wait a few years before making the decision to enlist.
For one airman assigned to the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, deciding to join the Air Force took 11 years.
Staff Sgt. McGarry Lansiquot, 38, an Aircrew Egress Systems specialist assigned to the Thunderbirds, was born and raised in Castries, St. Lucia, an island country located in the Eastern Caribbean Sea. After graduating high school in 1991, Lansiquot and his twin brother, McGarret, both decided to leave home.
“We left home to go live with relatives in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We stayed there for a year and, decided to move to New York City to live with our father. It was there where both my brother and I became U.S. citizens,” Lansiquot says. “At first, it felt really strange because of all the tall buildings and the way of life, but after living there for about a decade, I can honestly say New York is my favorite city,” he said.
Lansiquot and his brother spent the next 10 years living in New York City. During that time, he worked various jobs and went to school. Eventually, he became a shipping manager for a textile company, but realized he was ready for a change.
Lansiquot’s brother enlisted in the Army in 1997 and continues to serve today. He said it was around that time he gained his own interest in the military, but had reservations.
“After working as a shipping manager for a few years, I had no sense of fulfillment sitting behind a desk all day,” Lansiquot said. “I didn’t have any job satisfaction so I decided to do something that I had always thought about, but was too afraid to do. I decided it was time to join the Air Force.”
Lansiquot graduated Basic Military Training in September 2002. He joined at age 27, making him a lot older than most 18-year-old enlistees, but still right on time.
“If I would have waited longer to make my decision, I wouldn’t have been eligible to enlist,” he said. “So I’m glad I finally decided to join.”
He became an Aircrew Egress Systems Specialist and was stationed at Beale AFB, Calif., for his first assignment. It was there he started his Air Force career, he said.
“When I first started in the Air Force, I didn’t fully understand what I was part of until I started deploying,” he said. “While stationed at Beale during a six year period, I was deployed many times. After my second deployment, I really gained a true understanding of how important my job really was. I gained a sense of pride and felt accomplished, which was something I never felt sitting behind a desk in New York.”
As an Aircrew Egress Systems specialist, Lansiquot is responsible for ensuring aircraft ejection systems are reliable. He performs equipment maintenance and conducts periodic inspections.
After six years at Beale, Lansiquot was stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea, and from there moved to Spangdahlem AB, Germany. While stationed in Germany, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After three years in Germany, he was selected to be part of the Thunderbirds and arrived to the squadron November 2012.
“I really enjoy being part of the Thunderbirds team. It’s unlike any other unit I have been assigned to,” he said. “We work together well, and there is a great sense of unity here. Even though sequestration has impacted our normal flying operations, we still have the opportunity to go out and inspire others, and it feels good to know what we do still impacts so many people.”
Since his arrival to the Thunderbirds, Lansiquot has managed to help coordinate the squadron’s oxygen gaseous system upgrade. His flight chief said he’s been a great addition to the team.
“Staff Sergeant Lansiquot came to the team poised to re-define the term ‘teamwork,’” said Master Sgt. Javier Sariñana, non commissioned officer in charge of the Thunderbirds Specialist Section. “He’s extremely dependable. He’s a huge asset to this team because of his knowledge and work ethic.”
Lansiquot is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. He tries to make trips back to Saint Lucia every three years or so because many of his relatives live there. He hopes to continue with his Air Force career and serve until he’s able to retire.
“I am happy I made the decision to join. I have been extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to travel all over the world,” he said. I recently was able to give my mom a tour of the Thunderbirds hangar during her visit here and it’s a good feeling to know how proud my family is of me.”