DANG visits WADS, recognizes COVID response and Airmen dedication
By Lt. Col. Alyson Teeter, Washington Air National Guard Public Affairs, Western Air Defense Sector
/ Published December 09, 2020
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
The director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, and the Air National Guard command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Maurice L. Williams, visited Washington Air National Guard units and recognized Airmen for their service Dec. 2 and 3, 2020.
The first stop was with the 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane, Washington, on Dec. 2. The DANG visited the 141th ARW to gain a better understanding of the wing’s current operations tempo, organizational partnerships, and role in domestic operations missions, such as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March, more than 100 Washington Air National Guardsmen have helped food banks tackle food insecurity throughout the state and the Washington National Guard has processed, packed and distributed more than 65 million pounds of food.
"The amount of dedication from our Airmen throughout this trying time has been phenomenal,” he said. “I've seen our Airmen volunteering their time at the food banks and other relief efforts to support our local communities and the positive reactions we've gotten from those communities regarding our Airmen has been outstanding.”
Loh also presented a coin to Master Sgt. Susanne Mensik, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 116th Air Refueling Squadron, 141st ARW. Mensik was recognized for her lifesaving work during a deployment to Afghanistan earlier this year.
“The DANG appreciated the innovation of the 141st team in everything from sortie generation to Guard and Active inter-fly to joint facilities construction and management,” Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, commander of the Washington Air National Guard, observed about the 141st portion of the director’s visit.
Flying in one of the WA ANG’s RC-26 reconnaissance planes, the DANG and ANG command chief shifted their visit from the east to the west side of the Cascade Range.
Gathering at the Western Air Defense Sector at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Dec. 3, Loh and Williams received updates on the WADS and 194th Wing’s current missions, heard ideas for improvements and innovation, and also thanked Airmen for their contributions and service.
“Both the 194th and WADS are truly doing some outstanding, leading edge work across the Air Force, and it's beyond awesome to be able to share that work with someone like the DANG and Chief Williams,” Welsh said.
Personal coins were presented to Senior Master Sgt. Mark Conrad, Headquarters WA ANG, for his work with Task Force Olympic food banks, Tech. Sgt. Jalisha Storment, 194th Mission Support Group, for her work recruiting 47 new Airmen into the WA ANG this year, and Senior Airman Payton Chiou, Western Air Defense Sector, who supported the food bank, wildland fires, and state unemployment claims missions.
After the tour of WADS ended, Williams capped the visit off with a virtual panel discussion with chief master sergeants from the 194th Wing.
“Throughout 2020, WA Citizen Airmen have served their state by responding to COVID-19, wildfires, and civil unrest. All while still maintaining their federal mission requirements,” Loh said on his Facebook page. “Despite a demanding year, these Airmen expressed pride in the work they’ve accomplished thus far and readiness to step up again if called upon. Thanks for a great visit, and thanks for all you do.”