Iowa ANG holds enlisted leadership huddle

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

Iowa Air National Guard senior enlisted members from the states two Air Wings gathered at the Iowa Joint Forces Headquarters this week for an enlisted leadership huddle.

The group of nearly 100 Seniors, Chiefs and 1st Sergeants were in Des Moines for the two day event where they heard first hand about the state of the Iowa Air Guard.

Brig. Gen. Shawn Ford, Deputy Adjutant General for the Iowa Air Guard highlighted upcoming leadership changes in the state with the group of Airmen from the Sioux City and Des Moines Air Wings. Ford talked to the group about the Air Guard’s future combat employment, budget items, as well as recruiting and retention efforts.

Ford talked with the group about the importance of engaging with subordinates and building relationships.

“Everybody has a story,” Ford commented. “Sit down with your Airmen, and listen to their story.”

Ford said he plans to retire this year and talked to the group about the privilege he has had of being a F-16 Fighter Pilot during his time with the Air Guard.  He used the opportunity to share some key take-aways with an attentive audience at the Camp Dodge gathering.

“You will never do wrong if you treat people with dignity and respect,” Ford said.

Iowa Army National Guard Senior Enlisted leader Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Hjelmstad was also invited to talk to the group. Hjelmstad talked about several hot button issues including sexual assault prevention as well as suicide awareness.

When talking to the group about the enlisted performance and evaluation process Hjelmstad encouraged attendees to have the “real” conversation with subordinates rather than giving an automatic pass.

“What are the things they are doing great, and what are the things they can work on,” Hjelmstad explained.

During the event individuals from the 132d Wing in Des Moines, Sioux City’s 185th Air Refueling Wing as well as the 133rd Test Squadron in Fort Dodge each give a presentation about their unit’s mission.

An evening outing had the group together at an Iowa Cubs baseball game. At the game Chief Master Sgt. Sarah Orwig from the 185th ARW was honored for her contributions as a member of the Air National Guard and her contributions to the community.

According to those in attendance the event was a good opportunity to get to know more about the varying mission of the Iowa Air Guard. An equally important part of the event is that members of the group were able to spend time together and build relationships.