This is not your father's Air National Guard

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Bealore
  • 127th Air Refueling Group
"This is not your father's Oldsmobile..." That slogan was used by General Motors back in the 1980s. The perception was that only old men drove an Oldsmobile and it was a very conservative vehicle. General Motors wanted to change the image of Oldsmobile for consumers and thus the slogan was born. I borrowed that slogan from GM to say this: "This is not your father's Air National Guard."

The image and the face of the Air National Guard is changing. Long gone are the fat budgets and "loose" compliance to regulations. With today's Ops tempo and shrinking budgets, every mission, every person, every dollar spent is important. There are no more "crusty old Master Sergeants" with tons of experience; they have been replaced by professional NCOs who are trained leaders. There are no more "fun runs" (with beer in one hand, and cigarette in the other); they are replaced by fitness assessments to measure our physical abilities to deploy anywhere in the world to do our jobs.

So what does that mean to us as individuals? It means that as the Guard continues to change, so must we. It might mean volunteering for that deployment that you really did not want to go on proving that we in the 127th Wing always stand ready. It might also mean staying proficient in our AFSC training or finally getting our PME accomplished. For some it might mean a lifestyle change for as the fitness program evolves, it now takes a true commitment to meet the standards. Some of us may change careers, and with the uncertainty of the Wing's future missions, it may require cross training or changing AFSCs. Finally, for some of us it might be the realization that we have served our state and nation well, and it is now time to pass the torch on to a new generation of Airmen.

GM was not able to change the image of Oldsmobile. Even with newer, stylish vehicles as the company began to shrink, the Oldsmobile brand was eliminated. This is definitely not your father's Air National Guard but as the Guard changes, I have the upmost confidence that the men and women of the 127th Wing will evolve and are up to the challenge of the changes that lie ahead!

Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.