McLAUGHLIN AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Charleston, W.Va. --
The ANG leadership team were visiting West Virginia to see the WVANG and Army National Guard’s participation in support of the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, West Virginia.
Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, alongside both Army and Air National Guard state senior leadership and 130th AW leadership, showcased the unique capabilities of the WVANG mission here to Rice and Anderson.
Airmen from the 130th Airlift Wing briefed the general and command chief on important aspects of our mission that support the state of West Virginia as well as the local communities. Discussions included the capabilities of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force – Package or CERF-P Detachment 1, special operations missions and training provided here, aeromedical evacuation missions, as well as the special work of the fatality search and rescue team (FSTR) including their response during the historic flood of 2016. Additional components highlighted were the 130th Maintenance Group’s aircraft maintenance experience and the unique engine regional repair center which assists the entire ANG in C-130H propulsion repair and overhaul capability.
Upon completion of the base tour, Rice and Anderson met with five outstanding Airmen who have distinguished themselves in their duties, both on and off the job, and presented them with challenge coins. Tech. Sgt. Anthony Sherrod, Staff Sgt. Randy Downs, Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Jackson, Senior Airman Mallory Ranker, and Airman 1st Class Autumn Davis were recognized for their contributions to the mission and heroism outside the ANG.
“This is just a small token of what represents something the Chief and I can do for you to publically recognize you, give you a coin, and just say ‘thanks,’” said Rice while addressing the outstanding Airmen. “Thanks for just being you and doing what you like, which is what we like, and which is what our country needs.
Sherrod, a production recruiter with the 130th AW, was lauded by the DANG for his recruiting statistics that have catapulted him as one of the top recruiters in the state and his work has helped to maintain 109 percent manning at the installation. Rice emphasized the need for more Airmen in the ANG through recruitment efforts to help build the force and was appreciative of Sherrod’s work.
“This [unit] is one that I showcase across the country saying, ‘if you want to know how to do it, go to West Virginia and talk to them about how it’s done,’” Rice said.
Rice also applauded the heroism of Downs, who provided life-saving CPR to a civilian thanks to his training from the ANG, saying “you are a true hero and an inspiration to me personally.” He continued by adding, “we never know when our moment will come when we’re asked to do something extraordinary, just as a normal, ordinary person, and you definitely represent that.”
Anderson offered words of advice to the newly coined Airmen and conveyed his message to the rest of the 130th AW members saying, “My number one priority that I talk to Airmen about is that my job is to make sure that any Airman, – I don’t care what you look like, where you come from, I don’t care about any of that - if you’ve stepped up to serve in our Air National Guard, my job is to make sure there’s a path to success for you.”
He continued, “Your path to success may be that you want to be a technical sergeant on the flightline as a drill status guardsman for 30 years, that’s okay and that’s a great career. If you want to be the wing commander or the TAG, my job is to make sure that every opportunity is there for you. You have to take advantage of it, I’m not going to do it for you, but the path has to be there.”
He underscored that the ANG has to provide avenues for Airmen to be successful and stated that he thinks there are some great policies in the works and he is planning on implementing them soon.
Both Rice and Anderson departed the 130th AW to pay visit to the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, gaining a deeper understanding of the entire mission set for the WVANG.