Hey all! We are back again to spotlight another one of our distinguished Buckeye alumni. Our newest feature is Colonel Kenneth Kmetz, a 1998 graduate of the MAnsfield Campus of The Ohio State. Colonel Kmetz graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, while serving in the Air National Guard. He has now ascended the ranks to the position of Maintenance Group Commander of the 179th Airlift Wing, and he remains a proud Buckeye, through and through!
- What brought you to OSU?
Upon enlistment in the Ohio Air National Guard and at my swearing in – where you take an oath to the President of the United States and the Governor of Ohio that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United State and the state of Ohio – I immediately became eligible for a full scholarship to state based institutions. This is a state of Ohio benefit, as the state realizes the value of having and supporting their “home town/state Air Force and Army National Guard.” Airmen and soldiers are also eligible for federal benefits that augment the state benefits. Essentially, we have the opportunity to graduate from college debt free, better for having been a part of something bigger than ourselves, and ready to contribute as a Citizen-Airman. Knowing this, I chose The Ohio State University because, in my opinion, it is the best university. OSU provided great traditions, academic excellence, and for me, a regional campus that would allow me to work full time while earning my education. I graduated from OSU-Mansfield and received the same great education as if I were at main campus. Go Bucks!
- How did your experience at OSU shape your career path?
OSU taught me to learn, to research, and to challenge myself. My time there provided me with the opportunity to compete for a commission (or, become an officer) in the Ohio National Guard. The things I learned at Ohio State enabled me to grow in the profession of arms. That profession happens to be as an Ohio Guardsman where I am surrounded by other “Buckeyes.” I could be in a formation anywhere in the state and hear an “O-H!” followed by an “I-O!” Ohio State is a part of the culture of Ohio. I am one Buckeye – a small part of a much larger whole. Being a part of the National Guard gives me that same feeling, but on a much larger scale. Here, I serve as a small piece of something so much bigger than myself, and yet somehow, I am not lost in it. I feel valued and realize that what I do is critical to the big picture — defending our nation, our neighbors, and freedom loving people across the globe.
- What advice or insight do you have for OSU alumni and students who are interested in your career field?
I have touched on a couple points already that make my career path special, especially as a “Buckeye” working as an Ohio Guardsman. I am proud to serve and it is an honor and a privilege to serve our great state and nation. The military has a public trust that is unmatched across career paths. If you are in uniform in public, people routinely come up to you and thank you for your service. It is very humbling to say the least; I typically respond by thanking them for their support as well, and recognizing that we cannot do what we do without them. One of my former commanders pointed out how citizens in some countries run from the military — here, they run to the military. Less than one percent of the US population is in the military — an all-volunteer force that has been at war for decades. It is a special place to be with a special mission and opportunities to grow, advance, learn, and provide something back to your community. If you have the desire to join, you will need to be diligent, ready for a challenge, and give your best — your country deserves nothing less.