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Air National Guard 'Focus on the Force' week

Master Sgt. Olympia D. Williamson, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas ANG, responds to a question from Air National Guard senior enlisted leaders during an Enlisted Field Advisory Council meeting at the Crystal City Conference Center, Arlington, Va., August 14, 2013. The EFAC gathers senior enlisted leaders to recognize, and discuss the ideas and concerns of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matthew D. Hilborn/RELEASED)

Master Sgt. Olympia D. Williamson, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas ANG, responds to a question from Air National Guard senior enlisted leaders during an Enlisted Field Advisory Council meeting at the Crystal City Conference Center, Arlington, Va., August 14, 2013. The EFAC gathers senior enlisted leaders to recognize, and discuss the ideas and concerns of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matthew D. Hilborn/RELEASED)

Master Sgt. Olympia D. Williamson, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas ANG, responds to a question from Air National Guard senior enlisted leaders during an Enlisted Field Advisory Council meeting at the Crystal City Conference Center, Arlington, Va., August 14, 2013. The EFAC gathers senior enlisted leaders to recognize, and discuss the ideas and concerns of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matthew D. Hilborn/RELEASED)

Master Sgt. Olympia D. Williamson, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas ANG, responds to a question from Air National Guard senior enlisted leaders during an Enlisted Field Advisory Council meeting at the Crystal City Conference Center, Arlington, Va., August 14, 2013. The EFAC gathers senior enlisted leaders to recognize, and discuss the ideas and concerns of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matthew D. Hilborn/RELEASED)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- With an eye on tackling the biggest issues confronting the more than 105,000 Guard-Airmen force, the Command Chief Master Sgt. of the Air National Guard held the first "Focus on the Force" week at the Air National Guard Readiness Center here Aug. 12-15.

Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling invited the Enlisted Field Advisory Council to the National Capitol Region for direction and feedback.

The EFAC, made up of seven primary and seven alternate regional members charged with keeping the Director of the Air National Guard aware of issues in the field, asked Hotaling to allow other Airmen to participate. He chose the Air Guard's newly anointed Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

"We need to hear Airmen's stories; we need to ask them questions," Hotaling explained. "We need to get some feedback on where we think we're going in the enlisted force. The EFAC asked for a panel of Airmen and I couldn't think of any better than our Outstanding Airmen of the Year."

The EFAC Chair and Washington ANG Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Timothy R. Tyvan, believes the opportunity to hear directly from the enlisted members in the field ensures the council is focusing on Airmen issues.

"We were fortunate to be able to sit down with six Outstanding Airmen of the Year, representing over 90,000 enlisted airmen," said Tyvan. "Their feedback will have deliberate effects on addressing key issues and the development of our force."

Another opportunity for EFAC members was meeting with the newest ANG chiefs attending the Chiefs Executive Course.

"This is an outstanding opportunity for our chiefs to personally meet OAY winners," said Chief Master Sgt. David Eddy, CEC lead facilitator and command chief of the Michigan ANG. "It also allows them to meet chiefs from around the country, interact with them, and glean information related to career progression."

Outstanding Airman of the Year, Staff Sgt. Chad J. Boles, a member of the Oregon Air Guard's125th Special Tactics Squadron at Portland Air National Guard Base, appreciated the chance to participate..

"It's very humbling," said Boles. "I consider it a huge opportunity to stand in front of all these command chiefs and actually have them hear what I have to say and take it into consideration."