I am The 908th: Senior Master Sgt. James Harstad

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg
  • 908th Airlift Wing

Senior Master Sgt. James Harstad is the senior enlisted leader for the 908th Force Support Squadron. Harstad has been with the 908th AW since 2019 but has been serving since 1989. Initially joining active duty in the Navy, Harstad served until 2001 and after a break in service returned in 2008, this time joining the Air Force Reserve in Minneapolis. Shortly after, he became an Air Reserve Technician, and has stayed in that role ever since.

Harstad said the most rewarding part about being a senior enlisted member who is far into his career is being able to prepare the next generation of Airmen who will one day lead our force. "I see all these new people coming in and they're doing a lot of the same jobs I used to do," said Harstad. "I'm able to work with them and train with them, and prepare them as the next batch of leaders."

Harstad's wife, Tina, was also heavily involved in life here at the 908th. Tina was the wing's key spouse mentor, working with members of the wing and their families to support them through the challenges that can come with military life.

"It was great having her in that role," said Harstad. "When I come home she asks how my day was and she really understands what we do. She’s always had a lot of regard for the military." Outside of the military, Harstad pursues a life-long hobby of astronomy. Using high-powered telescopes to observe outer space and drawing his discoveries in a sketch book.

Harstad says he is looking forward to retiring from service and entering the next phase in life. He has had a long and diverse career and although he says he’s not sure what he’ll do next, he knows he won’t just be “sitting on the porch swing.”