ANG Deputy Director visits 125th Fighter Wing Published Sept. 21, 2022 By Tech Sgt. Chelsea Smith 125th Fighter Wing JACKSONVILLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Fla. – 125th Fighter Wing senior officials welcomed the Deputy Director of the Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Duke Pirak during a visit to the wing Sept. 13, 2022. During the visit, Pirak received a mission brief and status update on the long-awaited F-35 Lightning II conversion, which is currently underway with infrastructure changes, the delivery of the wing’s first inert training munitions last month, and conversion training set for nearly a dozen 125th Aircraft Maintenance Airmen in October 2022. Following the briefings, Pirak set eyes on the recently unveiled Florida Air National Guard 75th anniversary jet, which features every aircraft assigned to the unit, the state flag, and imagery representing the wing’s motto as the “Home of the Thunder.” Pirak concluded his visit by coining five outstanding Airmen for noteworthy achievements in advancing warfighting capabilities, boosting esprit de corps, and ensuring readiness across all levels of the organization. He also acknowledged the efforts of Airmen who have ensured mission success at home and abroad and emphasized the importance of the 125th Fighter Wing’s conversion to the multi-role F-35A as near-peer threats emerge. “We’re fortunate to have outstanding Airmen in our fighter wing who work tirelessly to achieve our mission objectives day in and day out. Their efforts have afforded us an opportunity to welcome the F-35 Lightning II, and I’m proud to share their achievements with senior leaders along with the progress we’ve made toward the upcoming conversion,” said Col. George Downs, commander, 125th Fighter Wing. Pirak is a top academic graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Distinguished Graduate of the National War College, and a joint qualified officer. He has led a variety of headquarters staff positions, including as the Senior Military Adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, Director of Operations for the Combined Joint Operations Center and Army Forces in Jordan, and Director, Chief of the National Guard Bureau Action Group.