Pittsburgh’s Wright brothers…and father

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Grace Thomson
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

What if every Unit Training Assembly were like a family reunion? Well, that is exactly what it is like for Senior Master Sgt. Randy Wright, the senior services Air Reserve Technician for the 911th Services Squadron.

“I have four natural children, two daughters and two sons,” Randy said. He has a son-in-law in the Air Force as well.

His two sons are Tech. Sgt. Tyler Wright, training manager for the 911th FSS, and Master Sgt. Ryan Wright, personnel supervisor for the 32nd Aerial Port Squadron, and they are all part of the 911th Airlift Wing.

Randy’s father was also in the Air Force but separated before he was born. However, Randy said he always heard stories about his family’s experience with the Air Force.

“He and my mother, they loved the Air Force, so I continually heard about it the whole time I grew up,” said Randy.

Randy joined the Air Force for the first time in 1984. He was active duty and stationed in Montana before he eventually transferred to the Montana Air National Guard. In 1991, he left to pursue a career in law enforcement. It was not until 2012 when his sons were old enough to start talking to recruiters that Randy learned he could rejoin the Air Force and finish out his military career.

“So, I rejoined in August 2012, became the full-time services ART [Air Reserve Technician] in 2016, and I've been here ever since,” he said.

Tyler, the older son, originally wanted to be on active duty but also wanted to go to college, so the Air Force Reserve was a better fit at the time.

Ryan went active-duty Air Force first but was medically discharged due to injuries received.

It was while he was waiting to out process from active duty that he spoke with his father and brother, and they encouraged him to join the reserves with them.

“I was going to get out completely and then try again to go back active, but he encouraged me to stay in and encouraged me to come up here to Pittsburgh,” Ryan said, “Come home, get things squared away, and then continue on with my career instead of having the break.”

Each of them came into the Air Force in their own way, but they all ended up together.

“It has been part of our family for three generations, and it feels more like a part of us than being a branch of service,” said Tyler.

Each of the Wrights spoke about stories or photos of the Air Force and grew up respecting the military greatly.

Tyler said, “When I was a kid, I heard a lot of stories from my dad about his and my grandfather's time in the military. At first, it didn't matter which branch I went into until I had a conversation with my father about the different branches and then I decided to join the Air Force.”

Ryan said something similar: “I found a picture of my dad and my grandfather in their uniforms together and from that moment forward, I wanted to join and when I told my dad about it, he looked at me and he said ‘son, your grandfather and I paid that price for you.’”

That did not matter to Tyler and Ryan, they wanted to serve their country.

It wasn’t just stories about the Air Force that set this family on their path, but the morals and beliefs instilled in them as they grew up as well.

“Duty, honor, and service to our country,” said Randy, “Dad always believed that if young men and women didn't stand up and defend our nation, then we wouldn't have a nation left and so that was one of the things that I wanted them to understand.”

Randy Wright taught them more than just to love the Air Force though, he taught them to be independent and work with their hands.

“He taught me a lot of things that I still used today,” said Tyler. “I am very resourceful and can usually fix or repair just about anything because of the skills he taught me.”

Those skills that their father taught his sons are used every day in the Air Force and especially here at the 911th AW.

“I've always served with pride and that's the biggest thing,” said Randy, “and I've been so proud to have the opportunity to serve with sons. It doesn't happen very often that a father gets to serve with his sons and I've enjoyed that.”

Each Unit Training Assembly is like a family reunion. They may not get to spend much time together because they all have their own jobs to do, but at least while they are here, they can guarantee a family visit.

“All of us being here together has afforded me a very unique opportunity that even though I live in Florida I get to spend some time with my family,” said Ryan, “It may not always be a bunch of time, but I at least get to see my brother and my father once a month which is absolutely fantastic, I couldn't ask for more.”

Both sons had Father’s Day wishes for Randy.

“I wish a happy Father's Day and a thank you for literally everything,” said Ryan. “The times where you were difficult and hard on me and bullheaded taught me to stand up for what I believe even if the outcomes not favorable, to not go with the flow and to be my own man. It's truly been the greatest gift of my life and I appreciate and love all the skills that you've taught me. It's helped me more than I could ever begin to explain. With that said, Happy Father's Day and I love you dad.”

Tyler said, “Thank you for being you. You have been there through the good and the bad and I am grateful that you are my dad.”

Randy also had some Father’s Day wishes for all the 911th AW fathers.

“It's a great life that we all share,” he said, “Take pride in being a dad - sometimes it's difficult, but it's well worth watching these children grow up and become their own person in the world. Especially when you see them succeed as adults. It's really a big it's really a big source of pride.”