Nashville, Tenn. --
Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice had a goal nearly four years ago to visit all 90 ANG wings and learn about the organization’s more than 107,000 Airmen.
Three and a half years later he completed his mission, culminating with a visit to the 118th Wing at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Tennessee, Dec 6, 2019.
Rice was joined by his wife, Nancy; Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Anderson, command chief master sergeant of the ANG; Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee adjutant general; Chief Master Sgt. Ken Simmons, state command chief; and Col. Jason Glass, assistant adjutant general-air on a tour of the 118th WG.
Upon arrival, the group received a whirlwind tour beginning with a wing briefing by Col. Todd Wiles, 118th Wing commander, followed by tours and briefings from all the groups in the wing. Rice and Anderson then had lunch with Airmen from throughout the wing, who discussed a variety of subjects including suicide awareness, staffing, and careers.
“It struck me how young the workforce is, yet at the same time how professional they are,” said Rice. “The depth of the ability to communicate, articulate what they’re doing, and doing it with confidence and pride is impressive.”
At each location throughout the wing, Rice and Anderson noted the importance of the mission and the involvement of the ANG at every level.
“Every single mission in the Department of Defense, our Air National Guard members are a part of it,” said Anderson. “We’ve seen the entire spectrum, and at every point throughout that discussion have been ANG Airmen, officers and enlisted. I kind of understood it, but until you’re standing there, watching it, you just can’t understand the depth of how we’re connected to the community and the mission.”
Before wrapping up the trip, the group held an all-call with the wing, where they coined numerous exceptional performers and gave their impressions of the wing.
When asked what he wanted Airmen to take away from his visiting all 90 Wings, Rice raised a concept all Airmen should be familiar with: the Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. But he had an addition.
“There’s more to it than that,” he said. “It’s respect for each other, it’s respect for yourself, it’s getting after it and being positive and having hope for the future.”
Rice noted that a trait he and Anderson observed throughout their visits is that a successful organization strongly relate to how well a wing takes care of its Airmen.
“When we find very high performing wings, like this one, that just do above and beyond what anyone asks for and expects,” said Rice. “You find that how the people take care of themselves is really the reason that they are very, very high performing.”
“I would say [the 118th WG] is exceptionally good at how well they take care of themselves,” said Rice. “That’s the impression we’ve gotten and that’s been validated every door we go through and every place we’ve been.”