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Air Guard Director hosts first 'All Call'

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Remaining operationally engaged, the fiscal climate, furloughs, and serving with distinction were topics frankly discussed here by the Director of the Air National Guard, Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, at his first "All Call" Aug 14.

The event, part of "Focus on the Force" week held at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md., provided insights on current Air Guard issues.

It also gave the Director of more than 105,000 Guard-Airmen the opportunity to recognize the six 2013 Air National Guard Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

"We are integral to every plan that happens with the Air Force. We are also integral to every governor and [the Adjutant General] for things that we do in the states," Clarke said. "That dual-purpose mission and being operational engaged at home and overseas is critical to the Air Force and to the nation."

In discussing the future of the Air National Guard, Clarke said he anticipates fiscal limitations.

"I don't see a lot of relief in the budget world," he observed. "We will do what we can, the best way that we know how."

The Director also didn't mince words when discussing potential personnel cuts.

"There may be some impacts to this headquarters based on the Strategic Choices and Management Review that OSD has done," Clarke said. "It is too premature for me to tell you numbers. If there are reductions on the staff, it will be done over time and appropriately."

As for furloughs, Clarke stated he thought they were a bad idea. He shares that opinion with Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, and Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, vice chief, National Guard Bureau.

Clarke concluded by imploring those in attendance to serve with distinction.

"Don't drag our flag around in the mud," Clarke began. "Be proud of the fact that this is the United States of America. We render assistance to others and they are better off because of it ... the Air National Guard is a big part of that."

"It is truly remarkable what you get done," he continued. "The credit goes to your experience and dedication as individuals and what you bring to this organization day in and day out to ensure we are a credible part of the Total Force."