RENO, Nev. --
Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, visited the Nevada Air National Guard base here Mar. 3, as a speaker for the first Nevada Air National Guard Leadership Summit.
The event served as a capstone leadership conference with military speakers emphasizing the Nevada Air National Guard’s force development initiative.
Force development ensures Airmen have the tools they need to take on leadership roles as they progress in rank, said Col. Mitch Sperling, 152nd Airlift Wing vice commander and Leadership Summit executive planner.
The Nevada National Guard plans to continue these types of leadership events with more in the future, said Sperling.
During the event, Lengyel spoke to a crowd of about 400 Nevada National Guard Soldiers and Airmen about leadership and the future of the National Guard.
“Getting the opportunity to participate in the development of our future leaders of the National Guard is probably one of the most important things I do,” said Lengyel.
As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Lengyel serves as the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to the governors and state adjutants general on everything related to the National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Ondra Berry, the assistant adjutant general of the Nevada Air National Guard who also spoke at the event, has worked with Lengyel in the past and both expressed a common interest in force development and ensuring equal opportunity among Airmen during the event.
"I am relentless about force development and providing growth opportunities for the Airmen who are asked to operate and compete within the framework of our total force," said Berry. "This is just the first step in a long journey, but I'm certain that together we will be able to establish a lasting legacy in leadership that will be a model for the entire National Guard."
In addition to Brig. Gen. Berry’s position in Nevada, he also has a federal dual assignment as the assistant to the assistant secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
Force development is one of the five priorities of the Nevada Air National Guard. The Nevada Air National Guard’s other four strategic priorities are readiness, care for members and families, diversity and community.
“We want it available to everyone,” Sperling said. “Force development is a way to get equal opportunity ideas and development to everybody and then whoever aspires to use those, and grow, can.”
Lengyel’s visit marked the first time in five years a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Reno.
“I know this is the first time we’ve had a four star on the base in a long time,” said Capt. Robert Simpson, the 152nd Airlift Wing installation deployment officer. “Just to hear his perspective and where he wants to take the National Guard in the future makes for a very rewarding experience.”
Other Leadership Summit speakers included Nevada football head coach Jay Norvell, University of Nevada, Reno professors Bill Kuechler and Yvonne Stedham, Western Nevada Supply owner Rick Reviglio and Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Reecy, South Dakota Air National Guard Headquarters superintendent.