FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Thursday the Fresno Army National Guard’s 1106th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group invited students from around the valley to come out and see what career paths are available in the National Guard.

People think to work on aircraft like chinook helicopters you have to be halfway across the world but in fact, there are jobs here in their own backyard.

Black Hawk pilot Joe Gentry at Fresno’s 1106th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group or TASMG says they are actively looking to the next generation to fill many positions in Fresno.

“We have a lot of full-time jobs here; mechanic jobs helicopter pilot jobs,” said Gentry.

He says the National Guard can be more than just the normal one weekend a month.

“Monday through Friday they wear the uniforms they get experience working on our black hawk helicopters or our chinook helicopters,” Gentry continued.

More than 200 students toured the base Thursday.

Students were shown how parts of aircraft are assembled in the base’s shop and also got the chance to sit in the pilot’s seat.

Teacher David Munoz with Roosevelt High School says the Thursday event gives students a glimpse into what life could be like after high school.

“It gives them a sense of realism they get to see a technical side of what the National Guard does,” said Munoz.

Fresno 1106th TASMG base is only one of four in the U.S. Responsible for repairing the army reserve’s helicopters.

12 west coast states send their helicopters to Fresno for repairs.

It is a big responsibility, but recruiters say the benefits of having a local full-time job make it worth it.

“They can stay here local and work full time and go home and see their families; that’s why I did this,” said Gentry.

Recruiters say working with the National Guard can also lead to other jobs outside the military working with helicopters.