MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The director of the Air National Guard visited the 167th Airlift Wing March 9.
Lt. Gen. Michael Loh and his wife, Diane, met with Airmen and saw first-hand how the unit adapted and continued the mission in a COVID-19 environment.
“He was very appreciative of the mission accomplishment performed over the past year by the 167th in the midst of the pandemic,” said Col. Marty Timko, 167th Airlift Wing commander.
Timko’s biggest takeaway from the visit was Loh’s comments at the end of the visit and how impressed he was by the positive energy and professionalism displayed from all of the members he interacted with while touring base.
Loh visited various locations throughout the base, including the fire department, where he met with Fire Chief Master Sgt. Chris Taylor and the daylight shift. Loh also presented his coin to Tech. Sgt. Ryan Trochimowicz for his service as the liaison to the Young family in the aftermath of Senior Airman Logan Young’s death.
Given the recent challenges members of the fire department have faced, Taylor said Loh stressed the importance of sticking together during adversity, learning from tough situations and taking that knowledge to make yourself better for your family, department, and wing.
“I believe that the greatest impact will be that these young men and women of the 167th AW can now see that we have leadership from the lowest level to the highest level that are willing to listen and care about the work that they are putting in to make a difference,” Taylor said.
Loh met with squadron and group commanders at lunch, discussing challenges to the mission and how he can support the process for solutions and Diane shared lunch with a group of dual-military spouses to discuss family and readiness challenges.
“He drilled down into the details of each issue and offered some strategic-level solutions for us to consider,” said Lt. Col. James Freid-Studlo, operations support squadron commander.
“The ability to have an in-depth discussion with the highest levels of leadership gives us Airmen comfort to know that higher headquarters is concerned with understanding our challenges,” Freid-Studlo said.
But Loh didn’t only hear from the wing senior leaders. Senior Airman Danielle Trucks escorted Loh through the base clinic, explaining daily operations, COVID-19 operations, and the different functions of each section. She said as she waited for him to arrive, the lyrics to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” played in her head, “palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.”
“I was definitely nervous. You don’t see too many three-star generals around here,” Trucks said. “Honestly, he was really nice and professional, so it was easy to talk with him.”