November Commander' s View
By Col. Paul J. Hargrove, 146AW
/ Published November 03, 2012
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Calif. -- As this edition of the Commander's View was being written, Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the northeast, the most populated area of the United States. Although this hurricane was not as powerful as some in the past, the amount of damage was extremely large. Hurricane Sandy brought massive flooding to New York and New Jersey, and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Manhattan's subways and electrical systems received enormous damage as well, and people are now struggling to survive in some areas, running short of water and gas for their generators. This is the type of event that the National Guard is known to support very well, and Hurricane Sandy is no different. The 146th AW sent two of our C-130J aircraft and aircrew to bring rescue equipment to the east coast, and we are standing by for any other requests for assistance from the National Guard Bureau, standing ready to help in any way possible. We all will keep the people located in this area in our thoughts and prayers.
The 146th AW was released from MAFFS on September 14th, after two and a half months of continuous activation. This was the second busiest season in the 39 years history of MAFFS and the totals so far this season were 922 sorties, 1,011 drops, and 2,449,679 gallons of retardant dropped in support of wildfires. I would like to thank all our personnel who gave their time and expertise, risking their own lives for the effort to save others. Unfortunately, this season also saw the first MAFFS aircraft accident, which claimed the lives of four aircrew members from the Charlotte ANG. The Safety Review Board concluded its investigation, but the results can't be released to the public. An Accident Investigation Board is now investigating the accident and these results will be released when available.
The 146th AW just completed the Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and Management Program (ESOHCAMP) visit from 22 Oct to 26 Oct. This team of experts assesses our compliance with regulations relating to flying and ground safety issues, environmental, and occupational health issues at Channel Islands ANGS. This is an extensive look at our programs in these areas and our personnel did very well. We always have minor write ups that will need to be corrected and responded to, but overall we had no significant findings by the team. I appreciate all the hard work that all of our personnel put into the preparation for the ESOHCAMP, most notably SMSgt Ron Nester and Lorenzo Perez.
Brig Gen Witham has been hired as the Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and will be working at the National Guard Bureau full time for several years. Last year he was hired as the Adjutant General-Air for the Air Division of the California Military Department. Brig Gen Jon Kelk has taken over as the Adjutant General-Air for California. The 146th AW and I wish them the best in their new positions.
We are now within one year of our next Operational Readiness Inspection, which will take place the last week of October in 2013. We are taking the ORI with the 145th AW from Charlotte and I anticipate this will be a good relationship for the inspection. I have worked with Col Roger Williams, Charlotte's Wing Commander, for years, going back years ago when we were both stationed at Laughlin AFB at the same time. We have worked with Charlotte for years with the MAFFS mission and are very familiar with many of their personnel. In January, we will continue the preparation for the ORI by joining Charlotte at Gulfport, Mississippi for a command and control exercise. Charlotte will be having a deployed ORE and we will send about 50 personnel to practice the C2 piece of the inspection. This will be the first of many exercises to get ready for the ORI. So dust of your chem gear and start thinking of how you can prepare yourself for the ORI.
This weekend there will be an induction ceremony in the wing auditorium on Saturday at 1000 for the recent NCO and SNCO personnel promoted. Command Chief Onsgard started this noteworthy recognition for the men and women who have earned their next stripe and taken the next step in their military careers. Please stop by and congratulate the newly promoted!
The annual Airman of the Year banquet will be in January and will be combined with the Army National Guard. This is a change from the past banquets and will be in Anaheim this time. The winners from the 146th AW have been announced and my congratulations go out to SrAmn Teresa Luna, SSgt David Scalise, MSgt Michael Stevens, and MSgt Doug Marshall. Please join me in congratulating these fine airmen. I wish them luck in the state competition.
Next drill will be a Family Day, Christmas Party, and Hometown Heroes combination. Bring your family out on Sunday and enjoy the day with all the events that will be going on. MSgt Steve Renteria is leading the planning committee on the Family Day and he has promised it will be a great event. Enjoy the holidays and I will see you around the base.
Paul Hargrove, Col