Commander’s Comments: Transitions
By Col. Mark Bartman, 180th Fighter Wing Commander
/ Published January 10, 2011
Swanton, Ohio -- Wow, time sure flies when you're having fun! I know that may sound funny, but I really mean it. The past 4½ years have flown by and it has been a very rewarding and challenging time. You have met every expectation that has been levied on you from any HHQ. From multiple deployments to Iraq, standing up ASA, millions of dollars in military construction, numerous deployments of small groups or singles to every corner of the globe, to challenges thrown at you from TAG and ACC/NORAD/9th AF IG - you all have done wonders that other organizations could only dream about.
It has been my distinct pleasure to be a part of this great organization. We have experienced the highest highs, receiving that overall "excellent" at the ORI out-brief, to the lowest lows, when I received the calls from the Balad & Luke AFB Wing Commanders letting me know that Sonny (Lt. Col. Kevin Sonnenberg) and Jinx (Lt. Dave Mitchell) had crashed without being able to eject. In between those events are a range of emotions that are hard to describe, but suffice it to say it has been both personally and professionally rewarding.
As the Wing moves to a new phase, a new Commander will be taking over. So as I move to State HQ, I think I'd rather talk about the future than the past. You are familiar with the sayings - "the only constant in life
is change," and "you need to learn something new every day." I think those two short statements will be the norm for an ANG that has transitioned from a strategic reserve in the pre-Desert Storm I days, to an operational reserve prior to Desert Storm II, to what is now plainly and simply an operational force. If you don't like change, you probably won't be too happy with the next few years, and if you are reluctant to learn a new way of doing business you will be left behind.
Lt Gen Wyatt, DANG, has set forth his priorities for the FY13-17 Future Years Defense Plan. Those include: only resourcing missions that have a clear linkage to a COCOM requirement; securing the home front while defending the nation; building a security capacity with our partner nations through training opportunities; success in counterinsurgency, stability, and counterterrorism by supporting special operations; operate effectively in cyberspace; and, taking care of our people and developing adaptable Airmen. All of these priorities have elements of change and/or educational opportunities.
The Ohio National Guard will see significant change. Besides the new top three (please go easy on me!), ONG is picking up new missions including a Homeland Response Force. Being a part of the HRF will make the OANG a significant player in meeting our national defense requirements. The 178th FW and the 179th AW are both undergoing transitions to new missions, ISR and C-27 respectively. We are in the process of having our F-16's upgraded with new capabilities that will bring new missions and ensure they are capable well past 2025.
Lots of great things are happening in your ANG. I look forward to working with you in my new position as ATAG-OH and I am very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the Ohio ANG.