September Commander's View
By Col. Paul J. Hargrove, 146th Airlift Wing
/ Published September 10, 2011
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Calif. -- This drill is unusually significant in that it is the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11. I ask that we all take a moment to remember that day and how the last 10 years have transpired. We have all been impacted in one way or another by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. In the last ten years the 146th AW has been involved in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, deploying in support of both conflicts. Our aircraft and aircrews have flown hundreds of combat missions in both countries. Security Forces, Civil Engineering, Aerial Port, Aerial Evacuation Squadron, Airlift Control Flight, Maintenance, Weather Flight, Medical, Force Support Flight, and numerous other units have bravely deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. These deployments have stressed our personnel, families, and civilian employers.
Over the last ten years Saddam Hussein was put to death in Iraq and Usama Bin Laden was finally tracked down in Pakistan. U.S. troops have been in Iraq for over eight years and will be drawing down, possibly to 3,000 troops according to the latest reports. Troops have been in Afghanistan even longer and will eventually draw down as the nation is able to secure its own country. Overall, after 10 years, Americans are very supportive of the military, even though we represent only 1% of the population. I know our personnel are tiring of the deployments and I'm very aware of the stress involved in continuing the high ops tempo. I ask that we lean on each other and support your fellow Guardsman in this significant time in our history. Eventually, possibly by 2014, we will see a pull out of Afghanistan that will lessen the burden to our personnel. Please keep in mind the troops currently deployed from our wing. They are in harm's way in numerous countries and I look forward to their safe return.
We have a new Assistant to the Adjutant General- Air, Brig. Gen. James Witham. He is currently the Chief of Staff for New Jersey Air National Guard and special assistant to Lt. Gen. Wyatt at NGB. Brig. Gen. Witham is also a captain for American Airlines and is expected to officially join the California Guard in November of this year.
Congratulations to our Operations Group Commander, Col. Greg Jones, who has been selected as the Deputy Director of A3 at the National Guard Bureau. Greg is expected to leave for NGB in mid October and I wish him well in his new assignment. Greg will return to the California Guard upon his completion of this assignment, which is up to four years.
I received a call from Air Mobility Command a couple of weeks ago and got some good news. We had sent them a Business Case Analysis to obtain a C-130 J simulator at Channel Islands. AMC agrees with the analysis and are planning on putting it in their simulator budget. If there are no further issues, construction would begin in 2015 and be complete in 2017. There are budget hurdles to get through in the next few years, but as of today, the $25 million dollar simulator is a go. I would like to thank the task group that accomplished the Business Case Analysis. Great job!!
Finally, I visited CENTCOM this week at MacDill AFB in Florida. This was in preparation for my deployment in November for 120 days. I will be the Deputy Director of Mobility Forces, working mobility issues in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As I've said before, I think it's important for senior staff to deploy in support of the war effort and this also goes for me.
Thanks for all the great work all of you do for the nation, California, and the 146th AW. Enjoy this drill and again, stop and remember ten years ago.