N.C. Air National Guard hosts ANG Command Chief
By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran , 145th Public Affairs
/ Published March 17, 2016
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In one of his final visits of his career, Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard James W. Hotaling took time to share his start in the Air Force and discuss his overall vision pertaining to the future of the Air National Guard during junior and senior enlisted "all calls" held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, March 12, 2016.
One of Chief Hotaling's key focus areas included the renewing of the commitment to the profession of arms.
"The Profession of Arms is the military. We wear the cloth of our nation. It's critically important no matter what status we're in--whether we're drill status guardsman, whether we're technicians, or whether we're AGRs (Active Guard Reserves), that we're all Airmen. We're all Airmen that serve this nation, 24/7, 365. Because the unique thing about the Minuteman, is that you're always on mission," Hotaling stated.
During two enlisted calls, Airmen got the chance to interact directly with Chief Hotaling asking questions and voicing any concerns. During one of these sessions an Airman asked Hotaling what he thought the biggest challenge was that the Air Guard enlisted force faces in order to continue integrating with the Active Duty Air Force.
"One thing that I remind my Active Duty Air Force counterparts is that we all are Airmen. We have the same skillsets; we have the same abilities to deploy. Everything is at the same level. My concern is time to continue to train and be proficient in our AFSCs. The uniqueness of the Guard is pretty simple. Because of our unique Guard construct, drilling just one weekend a month, two weeks a year, we define time quite differently than the regular Air Force. So what we can do is remind our Airmen to pay attention to the time that you have, make it the most valuable, because we do provide that "always on mission" value to our United States Air Force," Hotaling answered.
Recognizing and embracing Airmen's accomplishments was also on Hotaling's mind during the all call.
"It's critically important that you recognize your Airmen," said Hotaling during the senior enlisted call.
He exemplified that by taking time to recognize and coin many Airmen, including Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, 145th Airlift Wing Installation Emergency Manager, for being the recipient of the NCANG 2015 Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award.
"It was an amazing opportunity to meet someone so high up in our Chain of Command with such a sincere level of concern for us Airmen. To get to hear about his life and hear where he sees his future beyond the position he is in today was an incredible opportunity I will never forget," said Tongen.
When asked how he sees the future of the Air National Guard, Hotaling's message was very clear.
"The Air National Guard is no longer a strategic reserve, but rather an operational force and is never going back. There are three distinct components in the United States Air Force. You have the Regular Air Force, you have the Air Force Reserve and then you have our great Air National Guard. The vision that I see in the future is that we're one of those three components that is adding value to our nation, and in my personal opinion, and because I'm prejudice about this since I'm the Command Chief of the Air Guard, I would say out of the three components, we're the best because we have that dual citizen, that citizen Airman capability that we not only do the away mission, we do the homeland mission too, and that makes the Air National Guard the best of the three," said Hotaling.
As his visit came to a close, Chief Hotaling shared a few personal words with Airmen from his home state.
"I grew up in North Carolina, so it is good to be back in the Tarheel State. It's always good to come home. In the last twenty four hours I have seen the great and awesome work that the 145th Airlift Wing does for our nation. The 145th is world renowned. You know the tactical airlift capability that you provide here is seen in your tail flash that says Charlotte; it is seen around the world. So it's true and dear to my heart, this wing, this organization and the Airmen. They've displayed true professionalism today. And it makes my heart warm that as I'm getting near retirement that the Air National Guard's in good hands, and you demonstrate that every day," said Hotaling.