March Commander's View
By Col. Paul J. Hargrove, 146th Airlift Wing
/ Published March 03, 2013
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Calif. -- Budget Crisis. Sequestration. Debt ceiling. Continuing Resolution. Furlough. These words have been in the news lately. As one who believes in transparency and as much disclosure as possible, I'm going to share what I know about these topics as of now. You may or may not be aware, but there are actually several events all happening at the same time. The first date to take notice of is 1 March. That is the date that mandatory sequestration actions are initiated. Some of these include the possible furlough of civilian DoD employees. The second important date is 27 March. That is when the current Continuing Resolution expires. As no fiscal year 2013 budget has been approved by Congress, the six-month continuing resolution keeps the Department of Defense funded at the FY12 level. The final date to watch for is 18 May the date where the government again reaches its debt ceiling.
If you're like most people, you're asking yourself, "How does this affect the 146th AW?" Until this week we had remained relatively untouched. However, on 25 February, we were notified that our flying hours would be cut by 80% for the period 27 Feb-27 Mar. This is a reduction of approximately 200 flying hours. This primarily affects Operations in that commanders will now have to prioritize aircrew training and currency requirements due to fewer flying hours available for training and currency sorties. This affects Maintenance in that there may not be money to procure some specialized parts required for aircraft maintenance. It may also provide maintenance personnel some additional time to complete required maintenance on our airplanes.
Rest assured that the senior leadership here at the Wing, State Headquarters and the National Guard Bureau are working diligently to reduce the impact of these severe actions. We do not want to spread rumor and conjecture. As I get credible information I will forward it to you. If you have questions about possible actions, forward them through your chain of command. Taking care of you is my top concern and I will do my best to keep you informed and prepared through these actions.
Don't forget the resources provided by our outstanding Airman and Family Readiness Director, Ms. Julie Morency. She has resources that can help you and your family get through this challenge. Her office is in the Wing Building or you can call her at 805-986-7468 if you have any questions. Our Director of Psychological Health, Ms. Kim Evans also an invaluable source of support and has referral resources to help our Wing members and their families cope with any stress these issues may bring. Should you need her assistance, she can be reached at 986-7549.
With all this budget concern you may be wondering if we are still preparing for out upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection. The answer is most definitely YES! Our Wing has a long history of excellence. This ORI is just another chance for us to show our pride and professionalism to the IG. This weekend we are conducting a full Prepare the Forces (PTF) exercise. We will be processing personnel and cargo as if we were deploying to a combat zone. As we are in the home stretch of preparation, take this exercise seriously. We won't have the opportunity to practice much more before we do this for the IG in October. Work with your commanders and Unit Deployment Managers to ensure you are in the right place at the right time with the right equipment. Even though we will have EET to evaluate our processes, they are acting like the IG. It's not too early to start practicing your customs and courtesies, having your uniform sharp, and above all keep a positive attitude.
I want to end this month's view on a positive note. Twenty five years ago the 146th AW began its move from Van Nuys to Channel Islands. It's hard to believe we've been in Ventura County that long! I know many of you have seen the changes to the Wing during that time...and many of your careers have only been here at Channel Islands. Another special reason to celebrate this year is it is the 25th anniversary of the Alumni Association. To celebrate these milestones, the 146th AW Alumni Association is hosting a ball celebrating the Heritage of the Hollywood Guard and the Van Nuys Years on 20 April at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura. All Wing members are invited to what promises to be a fun, humor-filled night of mingling and reminiscing with current and past Wing members. This event is free to all current Wing members who are not yet members of the Alumni Association. Dress is Hollywood costume, former uniforms (no current uniforms please!) or California Casual. Tickets go on sale 20 February. For more information contact an Alumni Association member or check out their website: 146thalumni.org.
As always, I want to thank each and every one of you for your professionalism, loyalty and dedication. You have been members of this wing through some good times and some difficult times. In spite of the difficulties, you have met each challenge with courage and determination and we have overcome each one. I see these upcoming budget issues as a serious threat. But with the history of the 146th AW members, I feel confident that we can and will work through this challenge like we've met the previous ones...with creativity and a commitment to excellence in all we do.
See you around the base,
Paul Hargrove, Col