Business studies, varsity baseball and maintaining F-35s keep student busy

Brady Perron '22 says Vermont Air Guard duty as one way to cover college costs may not be for everybody, but he is having a rich and enjoyable experience that pays off in multiple ways for his life

November 17, 2021
By Laura Hardin '22

Brady Perron ’22

Brady Perron ’22, a Saint Michael’s College varsity baseball catcher and Business Administration and Accounting major from Barton, VT, said he enlisted in the Vermont Air National Guard during his senior year of high school to get ahead of paying off the cost of college.

The Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) awards three full-tuition scholarships and some part-time scholarships to attend Saint Michael’s College. “When I joined, I knew there was a chance of getting the Buxton Scholarship and I knew I wanted to go to St. Mike’s, so I took the chance,” said Perron.

Each year, applicants have to submit their applications to the Air National Guard before they are considered for the Buxton Scholarship Award to cover tuition.  Perron has applied since 2019 and received the Buxton award each year since.

Perron said when he was attending college tours he instantly knew the St. Mike’s campus was where he wanted to be. “Growing up in a smaller town, the big colleges didn’t interest me as much. St. Mike’s also gave me the opportunity of playing baseball in college,” he said. “Touring it, the small community felt exciting, and getting to learn from professors in small classes seemed more along the lines of where I wanted to be.”

“Getting to meet friends and always having an opportunity to integrate with other students in clubs, sports, classes, and just walking around campus is a huge bonus that St. Mike’s has over many other schools. The campus is beautiful and easily walked, and the atmosphere around each of us is just unmatched. I also love being in the Burlington area.”guard logo

Juggling the Air National Guard has been a huge part of Perron’s Saint Michael’s experience. “It has been tough, but worth it,” Perron said. He started his journey with the VTANG with basic training in the summer of 2018 – the summer he graduated high school. He spent his first fall semester on campus, but then went to a tech school in Texas and Florida for a combined 7 months. “When I got back, I worked 40 hours a week and attended a full-time class schedule throughout the fall semester. Both VTANG and Saint Michael’s College have been extremely helpful throughout the process and have worked with me to fit my schedule. I am thankful for both being so cooperative; it has definitely made it easier on me.”

F-35 Vt. guard

Brady Perron works on F-35 fighter jets like this one at the Vermont Air Guard base at Burlington Airport. (Photo by Master Sgt. Ryan Campbell courtesy of VTANG)

A huge influence on Perron growing up was the fact that his grandfather served in Vietnam. He said his grandfather’s military stories stirred his interest in seeing and feeling what it was like to serve. Moving on with this legacy, Perron plans to attend school another year to get a graduate degree, but plans to stay in the military in his postgraduate plans. “Even if I only stay part-time, it has brought life-changing relationships and experiences that I couldn’t gain anywhere else,” he said.

From his unique Saint Michael’s experience, Perron has been able to learn the job of being an F-35 Avionics specialist. “Aside from the college credits that the Air Force provides with my 7-month long tech school, I have gained a lot of professional on-the-job work experience. It has brought some of the toughest experiences of my life so far, but also some of the most rewarding,” he said.

“I have been able to work on $80 million jets while visiting bases in Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Las Vegas, and other places while doing things that most people never get to experience. I have been able to grow mentally stronger because of it and had to push myself to be a professional,” he said. “Now I am learning how to train others and become a leader by helping others through experiences that I have been through, which is a new process in itself. There is always room to keep growing and learning.”


Brady Perron is a man of action on and off the diamond.

Perron’s advice for anyone looking for a similar unique experience is to “make sure you really want to do it.” He explains that it is not for everyone, but is an unforgettable experience. “You can’t get [this experience] anywhere else,” he said.

“When I first joined, I was nervous about how it would all play out and if I would graduate on time and how difficult it would be, but time flies when you’re having fun,” Perron said. “I have appreciated each moment I have experienced. I think anybody could be successful in a similar position as me. If there is an interest and a desire to join the military and still get to attend school for free, the Air National Guard is a great route. On top of graduating, I have professional work experience already and many other resumé boosters that the VTANG has brought me to experience,” Perron said.

“The VTANG is a professional organization that is a pleasure to be a part of,” he said. “It’s a family in itself. Going to work and seeing the men and women each month, and when working full time, seeing these people who have so much professional experience to learn from is amazing. There are so many jobs to choose from, and so many benefits that come from joining.”

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