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Air National Guard Director Rice makes historic visit to Iowa National Guard

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Over the November 2016 training weekend, a sitting director of the Air National Guard visited the 185th Air Refueling Wing here - a first in the unit's history.

The purpose of the visit is part of ANG Director Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice's initiative to interact directly with Airmen who live and work in the Western Iowa enclave.

"I'm trying to see two units each month, and go out and see what they do and where they operate," said Rice. "The 185th is one of our premiere tanker wings in the country and it is a great honor to come here with our senior enlisted member, Command Chief Anderson and visit the wing."

Rice assumed his post as the Air National Guard Director this past May at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., where he oversees policies, plans and programs for all of the Air National Guard with units located in all 50 states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

During the historic visit to Sioux City, Rice and Anderson met with members of 185th ARW Wing leadership, toured the facilities and participated in a Community College of the Air Force Graduation ceremony. They also visited the Air National Guard's only paint facility which is co-located with the Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City.

Rice assured wing leadership that he would continue to pursue issues relating to readiness and modernization of the Air Guard.

The 185th has been flying the KC-135 mid-air refueling aircraft since 2002, which marks 60 years of service as the primary mid-air refueling aircraft in the Air Force fleet this year.

As part of continued modernization throughout the Air Force and Air Guard, the aircraft assigned to Sioux City will begin the latest in a series of upgrades when the KC-135s undergo the "Block 45" avionics upgrade starting next year.

Another subject garnering attention among ANG members is the announcement by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein concerning streamlining and reducing additional duties. Rice welcomed the initiative to give time back to Airmen.

"Peoples' time is not an unlimited resource and it's a thing you have to manage very purposefully and not abuse it," Rice said.

Rice visited the Iowa Air Guard unit in Sioux City for the day before traveling a short distance up the I-29 corridor to visit the 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on November 6.