Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke officially assumes responsibilities as Air Guard director Published March 26, 2013 By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy National Guard Bureau JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III assumed the duties and responsibilities of director, Air National Guard in a ceremony here today at the Air National Guard Readiness Center. Clarke took over as director from Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry "Bud" Wyatt, who retired. A command pilot with more than 4000 hours--including more than 100 combat hours-- in the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, Clarke assumed his current position after serving as commander of 1st Air Force and Continental U.S. North America Aerospace Defense Command. "The opportunity to watch (Clarke) at 1st Air Force was tremendous for me to learn his great capabilities," said Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, during the ceremony. And because of his background, Clarke was uniquely positioned and had the right skill set to take on the duties of director, said Grass. "An Alabama Air Guardsman who served as the assistant adjutant general for air, an A-10 and F-16 pilot who commanded a squadron, wing and expeditionary wing, all of that prepared him for this job and to represent everyone in this building and all those in the Air National Guard across the map in the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia," said Grass. And Clarke has been busy as he settles into his new role. "There's a lot to learn," said Clarke. "But, I've hit the ground running and am drinking from the fire hose. I have already been on the hill seven times and testified twice." However, he said his new role is a humbling one. "This is quite an honor and I am humbled at the opportunity to serve (those in the Air Guard)," said Clarke. And, as Clarke takes the reins as director, he said he sees tremendous opportunities despite recent budget cutbacks. "I've arrived in a time of budget turmoil and uncertainty, but I view this as a time of opportunity as well," he said, adding that his focus and commitment is clear. "My commitment to the (Airmen) and the adjutants general is clear," he said. "We will do everything within our authority to ensure our Airmen have clear policies, equipment, training and resources to accomplish assigned missions. We remain community based, team oriented and experienced." And Clarke is ready to face those challenges, said Grass. "(He) has stepped up to the challenge," said Grass. "And I can tell you I've already watched him as he's taken on that challenge."