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Nevada Air National Guard Hosts Region 7 Enlisted Field Advisory Council Meeting

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Paula Macomber
  • 152nd Airlift Wing

The Nevada Air National Guard's 152nd Airlift Wing played host to the Region 7 Enlisted Field Advisory Council on Oct. 18 and 19, held at their dining facility. This council, made up of the state command chiefs from California, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado, which gathers quarterly, serves as a forum for addressing critical issues affecting Airmen, devising solutions, and imparting knowledge to enlisted Airmen for addressing new challenges.

The event commenced with Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Pieters, the Senior Enlisted Leader for the State of Nevada, extending a warm welcome to attendees. Following this, representatives from each state within Region 7 presented the 'State of the State,' outlining challenges and key priorities unique to their respective regions.

One of the central topics of discussion was the new deployment model, Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN), which replaces the previous Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) model. AFFORGEN entails a 24-month cycle, divided into Prepare, Ready, Available to Commit, and Reset phases, each lasting six months. This shift focuses on unit-based deployments, with entire units preparing, training, deploying, and recovering together, as opposed to deploying small contingents from various units.

The Enlisted Airmanship Continuum (EAC) was another significant topic, highlighting the Air Force's commitment to providing on-demand professional military education with unrestricted access for all Airmen. The EAC aims to offer Airmen greater flexibility in their career development and close developmental gaps.

Master Sgt. Sammuel Alanis, the Security Forces Superintendent from the 162nd Security Forces Squadron in Tucson, Ariz., spoke about his career journey and the opportunities he seized outside of the EAC, emphasizing the need for Airmen to proactively shape their own careers.

The big take away from Alanis was, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable, and that will shape your career for the better.”

The event emphasized that discussions like these are essential for fostering growth and development within the Air National Guard.

Attendees had the opportunity to visit the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) storage hangar located on the NVANG flightline, where they received a detailed briefing on the High Rollers' distinctive domestic mission involving aerial fire fighting using MAFFS equipment. Senior Master Sgt. Zachary Michalski, the Noncommissioned Officer in charge of MAFFS for the 152nd Maintenance Group, provided valuable insights into this exceptional mission, offering the group a rare glimpse into their specialized responsibilities.

On the second day, Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the Adjutant General for the State of Nevada, highlighted the vital role of leadership in upholding America’s freedom and expressed his deep appreciation for the dedication of service members. He emphasized the qualities that leaders should possess, including resilience, persistence, initiative, the ability to reimagine tactics, and fostering positive self-talk.

Berry also shared a pivotal moment in his career when, at 23 years of service, he faced non-retention. He was asked to brief higher-level leaders in the Air National Guard. After the briefing, Gen. Craig McKinley, former Chief of the National Guard Bureau, asked him to be forthright and honest about the state of the military at that time. Berry's responses made him reflect on how his negative self-talk had influenced him. This reflection led to the creation of his first 'Mission Statement' for his life, which became a turning point in his career. As a result, McKinley offered him a job to improve some of those things he was dissatisfied with in the military. By this turn of events, he was able to surpass his own expectations.

He stressed the importance of having constructive inner dialogues, noting that energy follows thinking and offered some advice.

“What is life asking of me right now? Have passion, vision and conviction,” Berry said, “Your primary job as leaders is to identify and solve problems, accept the challenges that come your way and to act with a sense of urgency. Stay connected to your passion and to never compromise your conscience.”

The Enlisted Field Advisory Council meeting also offered Airmen a unique opportunity to witness how ideas and recommendations are deliberated and executed through established channels for change. It also served as a valuable networking opportunity. Airmen from various ranks, ranging from E-2 to E-9, participated in the event.

Chief Master Sgt. Rachel Landegent, Arizona State Command Chief, Arizona Joint Force Headquarters, and Alternate Chair for Region 7 encouraged attendees to harness the power of networking and collaboration with other units across the Air Force and Air National Guard, and even with other services.

“When each leader, at every level, leans into new and uncomfortable situations, their example to overcome challenges, and their direct influence encourages the removal of barriers and limiting beliefs, thus allowing growth of individuals and shaping of our force,” Landegent said, “this is the progression for change.”

The event provided a platform for Airmen to gain insights into the processes of creating positive change and to connect with peers and leaders from diverse backgrounds.

Landegent also thanked every Wing Command Chief and supervisor that encouraged their Airmen to attend this meeting, and invited more to attend the December National EFAC meeting at the Air National Guard Training and Education Center in Knoxville, Tenn. December 12-14, 2024. Please ask your Air National Guard Wing or State Command Chief for details.