Oregon Airmen provide snapshot of operations to Air National Guard’s top leaders

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. John Hughel
  • 142nd Fighter Wing/Public Affairs

As the stubborn winter weather kept its chilly grip on the Pacific Northwest, Airmen of the 142nd Fighter Wing provided a warm welcome to the top leaders of the Air National Guard during the Regularly Scheduled Drill (RSD) weekend, March 2-3, 2019.

Acting as the official host, Oregon Air National Guard Col. Adam Sitler, 142nd Fighter Wing Commander, introduced Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, the Director of the Air National Guard along with Air National Guard’s Command Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Anderson, to the unit’s Airmen during a tour of the Wing.

During the tour of the base, Sitler emphasized to the top Air National Guard leadership team the critical mission tasking and operations the unit provides to the U.S. Air Force in defense of homeland security for the Pacific Northwest region of the nation.

“This is a great honor for the 142nd Fighter Wing to host Lt. Gen. Rice, Chief Anderson, and many of the key staff members from the Air National Guard Readiness Center,” he said. “Our senior leaders have been seeking feedback from the field, which is why they schedule visits to Wings like ours.”

Formulating, developing and coordinating the policies of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Rice is responsible for implementing the plans and programs affecting more than 105,000 Guard members and civilians.

The reach of his accountabilities extends over all 50 States, and additionally includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. This includes more than 90 wings and 175 geographically separated units across 213 locations.

During the daylong tour of the Air Base, Rice was able to talk directly with Airmen and senior leaders to discuss operational requirements and gain insight into specific mission duties. This included a briefing of the Aerospace Control Alert facilities, aircraft maintenance, followed by visits to Civil Engineering and Security Forces Squadrons.

When visiting the 125th Special Tactics Squadron, Rice and Anderson reviewed and asked questions in regard to ongoing details involving the career fields with Guardian Angel and Special Tactics Squadron (STS) units. Rice noted the importance of the dual mission that the STS has, especially acknowledging the “DOM-OPS (domestic operations) responses.”

“I want to recognize how well your team has ‘connected the dots’ when it comes to responding to these homeland emergencies and the logistical challenges,” he said, describing how hurricane response has enabled the unit to reach out to other Air Force units to accomplish this critical mission.

These types of readiness issues were also brought to light during a town hall meeting with Airmen. While answering questions, Rice discussed how streamlining administrative process builds the flexibility that “21st Century Airmen need to get out the door and to do [your] job.”

“It is important that having equipment and resources available to do the mission, but changes to contingencies from the Air Force will foster support in theater with members deploying in teams of three or more in the future,” he said.

In echoing Rice’s concerns during the town hall meeting, Chief Anderson said that, “to be here today to talk about the work the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) or STS or any of the other missions you all have and the diversity of operations here is pretty incredible.”

As the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the Air National Guard, Anderson plays a pivotal role as advisor to the Director of the Air National Guard. This includes matters that affect the health and welfare of the force, professional development, and overall morale.

“That’s really what we need General Rice to do; is to spend his time and energy to focus on what our Air National Guard needs to continue to grow,” Anderson elaborated. “We’re thinking all aspects for future missions; so that each of you has what you need in today’s fight and for tomorrow’s fight too.”

Following the town hall meeting, Sitler said, and was encouraged by the range of questions and feedback that he felt was beneficial to all the service members in attendance.

“Our Airmen were able to express their concerns about delayed receipt of orders for federal mobilizations, healthcare benefits relating to mobilization status, resourcing for skills training, and a number of other items,” he said.

After the base tour and town hall, Lt. Gen. Rice and his staff had front row seats to a unique deployment ceremony held on base as 112 Airmen from a wide variety of skill sets and professions from the 142nd were formally mobilized.

The Airmen are preparing to deploy in stages over the coming weeks with United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and United States Central Command (CENTCOM) and other international missions.

“You’re right there, on the tip of that spear as many of you prepare to deploy and head out the door,” Rice said, during his concluding remarks at the town hall. “We ask a lot of our Guard members; we ask you to take care of yourself, your families and jobs so that you can focus on your Air National Guard mission and continue to be part of something bigger than yourself.”