TSgt Tina Laing joined the R-MA faculty in 2014 after 15 years of active duty service in the Air Force, two years serving in the California Air National Guard, three years as a Government Contractor and one year in the civil service. She holds an advanced degree in Business Administration and has worked in the administration and financial management career fields during her tenure, with experience in the Honor Guard, Color Guard, and Drill teams serving as Honor Guard Flight Chief and Team Trainer, as well as the U.S. Air Force Lead Cyber Financial Analyst.
At the young age of 17, TSgt Laing witnessed a full military honors funeral and immediately knew she wanted to become part of the Honor Guard Team. Knowing that she did not meet the height requirement (and at that time the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard was not accepting females onto the team) did not deter her. Upon graduating from high school, she enlisted and became a member of every base Honor Guard team throughout her military career. “I can’t think of a better way to serve my nation then to serve my fallen comrades!” she said. During her 15-year enlistment, TSgt Laing performed hundreds of funerals, Color Guard, Cordon, and Drill Team events.
TSgt Laing was quite literally living her dream, until she received a medical discharge from the Air National Guard in 2006. At that time, TSgt Laing sought to become a part of JROTC to help train the next generation responsible for honoring American heroes; unfortunately, shortly after her discharge, the regulations were changed to require 20 years of active duty service. Heartily disappointed by this turn of events, TSgt Laing returned to college, obtained her MBA, and went on to work in the financial realm of the Air Force as a civilian. Then, in 2013, her life took another turn.
“I was asked to mentor a captain who was considering getting out of the Air Force,” she said. “I asked him what he wanted to do, what his passion was, and he turned the question around on me. So I showed him the web site for Air Force JROTC. We noticed a Wounded Warrior section, and after clicking on it, I learned I was eligible to teach JROTC with only 15 years in the Air Force because I had been medically discharged…. Instead of me mentoring him, he gave me the best gift of my life.”
Back into her dream job once again, TSgt Laing intends to bring the philosophy of the USAF Core Values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in all We Do. Her class motto is, "I can teach you drill but I cannot teach you personal discipline or integrity. I cannot teach you what your morals and values are, those traits define you and are for you to choose!“
“This is my life’s passion,” she said. “These kids are everything to me.” Her calling to Randolph-Macon Academy was so true that she saved the pen with which she signed her contract—it sits in her trophy case at her home. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about the long hours. No amount of money can surpass doing what you love,” she said.
TSgt Laing is married to her husband Lt Col Charles Laing who is currently serving on Active Duty and has two children, Kathryn and Zachary.
- M.B.A., University of Phoenix
- B.S., University of LaVerne
- A.S., Community College of the USAF
- Classes: Aerospace I, Drill Team
- R-MA Mentor, Honor Guard Advisor, Drill Team and Color Guard Coach