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‘Serving with integrity’

Lynn Koger, Fort Dodge, U.S. Air Force

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Master Sgt. Lynn Koger, unit training manager for the 133rd Test Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard, served four years active duty Air Force in the 1990s before taking some time off. About 12 years ago, she reenlisted in the Iowa Air National Guard.

Lynn Keith was at a crossroads. It was 1995 and the Fort Dodge native had graduated high school five years before.

Keith knew she wanted to enlist in the military, but couldn’t decide on which branch. After a conversation with her brother, who was in the U.S. Army at the time, she decided to enlist in the United States Air Force.

Lynn, who is now Master Sgt. Lynn Koger, served four years of active duty in the Air Force, most of which was spent at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska. During that time, she spent four months in Saudi Arabia in 1998.

“I was a Third Country National escort,” she said. “Our job was to make sure that those people that were working on base doing various jobs, that they were accounted for, just to make sure they weren’t in places they weren’t supposed to be.”

She also worked as a utility systems apprentice during her first four years in the Air Force.

By the end of her first enlistment contract, Koger had gotten married and as a family, decided she wouldn’t reenlist at the end of her contract.

For the next six and a half years, Koger worked at Electrolux in Webster City. But then she decided it was time for a change.

“I actually quit Electrolux, sold my house and went to school full-time to run track and cross country at Iowa Central as a 32-year-old freshman,” she said. “I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t do it because I’d always wanted to run college track and cross country and never had the opportunity.”

Shortly after that adventure, Koger reenlisted in the military, this time with the Iowa Air National Guard.

“I just missed being in the military,” she said. “The people that you work with, there’s a lot of good people here. All over the Guard and the Air Force, you meet all sorts of people.”

She said patriotism also played a large part in her decision to return to service.

That was 12 years ago. Today, the master sergeant is just over four years away from qualifying for a military retirement. She currently works as a unit training manager with the Fort Dodge-based 133rd Test Squadron.

“As a unit training manager, I have responsibilities toward everybody in the unit to make sure that their training is getting completed and done,” she said. “I know everybody and I interact with pretty much everybody here at some level do to training.”

With the current operational tempo of the U.S. Armed Forces, especially with Koger’s current job, deployments are “few and far between,” she said. So in 2018, she volunteered to deploy with another Iowa Air National Guard unit.

“I went to Turkey and Iraq,” she said. “I spent six months total between the two countries.”

Koger is proud to be an Air Force veteran and continue to serve in the Iowa Air National Guard.

“It’s just about trying to do things the right way and serving with integrity, honesty and not cutting corners,” she said. “Just doing things the way they should be done.”

Koger is part of the honor guard for the 133rd Test Squadron. and will be participating in several events around the region on Veterans Day.