Clarke expresses confidence in 157 ARW

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The director of the Air National Guard expressed his confidence in the Airmen of the 157th Air Refueling Wing during an all-call Oct. 15 here.

Lt. Gen. Stanley E. "Sid" Clarke III said the Air Force selected the right organization to lead the Air National Guard through the transition of the KC-135 to the KC-46A Pegasus air refueling aircraft. The new weapon system is expected to arrive at Pease in 2018.

"All the excellence that this wing brings, all those awards that you have, all of the pride that I see in the faces of this wing -- I have no doubt you will be able to conquer those challenges," said Clarke, whose visit comes less than a month after the wing broke ground on a KC-46 hangar expansion and modernization project that is expected to be complete in 2017.

Clarke said Pease's highly successful active duty association with the 64th Air Refueling Squadron played a role in it being selected as the first Air National Guard-led main operating base. The 64 ARS is part of the 22nd Operations Group at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., but operationally assigned to the 157 ARW. The squadron was activated in October 2009.

"Part of the reason this wing was selected to receive the new tanker is because of how well you are doing active association," he said. "I have no doubt that this is going to be a wing that knocks it out of the park when it comes to establishing themselves as the first Air National Guard KC-46 wing."

In a total force environment, Clarke told the Airmen not getting caught up in what status they're serving in, but for them to understand their mission to fly, fight and win.

"I am very proud that I am an Airman first and foremost," said Clarke, a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the A-10, C-26 and F-15. "I never worried about what status I was in, I had a mission to do."

The general, who was at Pease for two days before visiting with the Vermont Air National Guard, said his visit is an important tool to hear feedback from Airmen on the ground level and find ways to improve a variety of things that can impact Airmen. He also took time to highlight the many ways they are making a difference.

"We have an opportunity to serve in three different ways: warfighting, homeland operations and security," he said. "We're doing a lot on behalf of the nation."

In addressing security, Clarke highlighted the National Guard's State Partnership Program, including New Hampshire's partnership with El Salvador, and the important role it plays in building "enduring relationships" with foreign nations.

His focus on warfighting, the homeland and operations resonated with Staff Sgt. Amanda Harriman, who was coined by Clarke for her outstanding service with the 157 Medical Group.

"I really appreciated the values that he spoke about," she said. "I think it truly defines who we are as National Guard members and what our future holds."