Senior leaders update NGB officers on state of the Va. Air National Guard

Brig. Gen. Zane R. Johnson, the Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander, briefs Brig. Gen. Michael R. Taheri, the commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Center, on the state of the Virginia Air National Guard July 22, 2014, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Meaghan E. M. Selki, Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs)

Brig. Gen. Zane R. Johnson, the Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander, briefs Brig. Gen. Michael R. Taheri, the commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Center, on the state of the Virginia Air National Guard July 22, 2014, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Meaghan E. M. Selki, Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Virginia National Guard senior leaders provided updates on the state of the Virginia Air National Guard to senior officers at National Guard Bureau in briefings held July 21 and 22, 2014, at the Pentagon in Washington, D. C. and at Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Virginia Air National Guard senior leaders delivered the ‘State of the State’ brief to Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, Director of the Air National Guard, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., July 21, 2014.

Brig. Gen. Zane R. Johnson, the Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander, together with senior Air Guard leaders representing units from across the state, briefed Brig. Gen. Michael R. Taheri, the commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Center, and ANG Air Staff leaders July 22, 2014, at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

“The State of the State is an excellent opportunity for us to communicate our priorities and engage with our NGB counterparts to better fulfill our TFI mission at Langley and other missions throughout Virginia,” said Johnson.

The briefings were followed by smaller break-out sessions that facilitated discussions between state and national counterparts to take a deeper dive into specific issues and begin taking steps toward solutions.

“It’s a good opportunity for representatives from all the organizations to get together and share information, and to hear about what might be going on across all the other organizations,” said Master Sgt. Chief Jay N. Ellis, 192nd Fighter Wing command chief .

“The benefit of these briefings for us is that we get great field perspective, and our mission is to serve the field. So these opportunities are invaluable to us,” said Taheri.

The visit presented the opportunity to highlight the numerous accomplishments of the Virginia Air National Guard across the last year, and to show the strengths of Virginia’s Air Guard units that can be leveraged for the future.

During the last 12 months, the 192nd Fighter Wing and its four groups executed multiple deployments in support of combatant command and training taskings. The wing’s Operations Group mobilized 38 Airmen and executed 250 missions and 19,300 hours of intelligence support to Central Command, the wing’s Maintenance Group was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and with its TFI partner, the 1st Fighter Wing Maintenance Group, was the winner of the 2013 ACC Daedalian Maintenance Trophy. The wing’s Mission Support Group stood up the Air Force’s second Support Squadron and successfully executed a Regional Training Center deployment of the Security Forces Squadron. The Wing’s Medical Group successfully exercised the states Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Enhanced Conventional Weapons Response Force Package, more commonly known as CERFP, during Vigilant Guard training, May 12-15, 2014, in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.

The geographically separated units of the Virginia Air Guard were equally successful. The 203rd RED HORSE Squadron successfully executed multiple field training exercises which had the added benefit of upgrading infrastructure from Panama to Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, and Petersburg, Virginia. The 203rd also upgraded key equipment, and conducted communications infrastructure upgrades, and continues to conduct deployments for training,

The 200th Weather Flight continued the tradition of excellence in Virginia through support of the 34th Civil Support Team and first responders. They assisted Virginia’s emergency management by providing weather support to the Joint Operations Center and the Adjutant General for multiple winter weather and tropical storms, began supporting an Army Guard tactical unmanned aircraft system platform, and provided weather support to the CERFP exercise at Vigilant Guard.

Finally, the commonwealth’s Joint Force Headquarters conducted realignment, saw multiple team and individual recruiter awards as state manning approached 100%, and continues to support total force integration lessons learned as the state refines its management of multiple high tempo missions.

The year’s past accomplishments set the stage for continued excellence in the Virginia Air National Guard, but a close relationship with the staff and directors of the Air National Guard is critical to future success. The ‘State of the State’ brief provided a vital opportunity to find solutions to the ongoing challenges faced by the Virginia Air Guard and to work with the Director of the Air National Guard and the Air National Guard Readiness Center Commander and Air Staff to chart the course for Virginia’s continued success.

Col. Dave Nardi, the 192nd Fighter Wing vice commander, summarized the visit.

“In this day of constrained budgets and seemingly ever increasing demands on our units and Airmen, it takes the coordinated efforts of the staff and the field to deliver the incredible capabilities that the Air National Guard offers to the nation,” Nardi said. “This visit is a key way in which we work with the Air Staff to ensure the Virginia Air National Guard remains the ready, relevant force we are today and is able to meet the needs of the Commonwealth and nation for the future.”