First Hired Into the National Guard Technician Program

Master Sergeant (MSgt) Willie Tyiska:

MSgt Tyiska was born in Jefferson, Texas, and later moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas. As part of “Greatest Generation,” MSgt Tyiska served in the U.S. Army from October 26, 1942, to December 15, 1945, as a Radio Operator and Telephone Lineman. In addition to serving during World War II, he served in Korea and Vietnam. MSgt Tyiska enlisted into the 189th Combat Support Squadron, 189th Tactical Airlift Group on July 13, 1964, as an Airman 1st Class. He was assigned as a General-Purpose Vehicle Repairman. He was the first African American to enlist in the Arkansas Air National Guard.

In 1976, MSgt Tyiska was also the first African American hired into the National Guard Technician Program as a vehicle mechanic for the 223rd Combat Communications Squadron in Hot Springs. His Awards and Decorations include the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Longevity Award, and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon. MSgt Tyiska retired on July 29, 1985, with over 24 years of service. MSgt Willie Tyiska passed away on July 20, 2004.