by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs
4/2/2015 - VOLK FIELD COMBAT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, Wis. -- Air
National Guard Command Chief Master Sergeants and other senior enlisted
leaders met to discuss issues and challenges facing the ANG during the
annual Command Chief's Huddle March 28-29 here.
Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief of the Air National
Guard, hosted the two-day meeting and remarked on the growing
significance of the ANG during times of shrinking resources and
"It is critically important to know that the environment we are in today
is very dynamic", said Hotaling. "The [Air National] Guard that you
joined no longer exists. The dynamics of the Department of Defense and
your United States Air Force is fundamentally changing how we operate
within the Air National Guard. This is an amazing time in our history."
The Command Chief's Huddle brings together more than 150 Command Chief
Master Sergeants and other senior enlisted leaders from 89 Air National
Guard wings and units, representing 54 states, territories and the
District of Columbia to openly discuss a wide range of issues and
challenges facing the ANG.
Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, Wisconsin Adjutant General, welcomed those
in attendance and stressed the importance of strong senior enlisted
"This is your time and you're at a stage in your life where you don't
get to have bad days," said Dunbar. "Your role is too important...people
are watching you, watching everything you do and say. We've got the
best organization in the world, the best Air Force leadership, the best
leadership in the Guard we've ever had, the best enlisted leadership
we've ever had and we have wonderful young men and women who wear this
uniform and make our country better."
Retired Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard A. Smith, 9th command chief of
the ANG says it also motivates and inspires those in attendance.
"These folks here are the gatekeepers of the 91,000 men and women in the
Air National Guard who wear stripes on their sleeves," said Smith. "I'm
very excited, I'm re-blued. I wish I had the uniform back on because
this is a great time to be a leader in the Air National Guard."
The Huddle's theme, "It's on us," focused heavily on the implementation
of new training methods, ideas and professional development. It was
highlighted by the newly restructured Air Force basic military training
course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The
eight-and-a-half-week course has been reorganized to make room for a new
five-day program called Capstone Week for trainees entering BMT.
Capstone Week concentrates on strengthening character, resiliency, and
sexual assault and prevention and response, and offers the Air Force an
additional opportunity to develop Airmen who are committed to its core
values. Technical Sgt. Andrea Jamarillo, a Military Training Instructor
assigned to the 323rd Training Squadron, Joint Base San
Antonio-Lackland, Texas, describes the benefits of the new class.
"I think it'll help the Airmen greatly," said Jamarillo. "The training
will help make them critical thinkers and help them make better
decisions regardless of the circumstances they're in."
Additionally, Capstone Week will provide instruction and promote
discussion among Airmen in an interactive forum rather than the more
structured BMT curriculum. Discussions will also include wingmanship,
leadership and followership, the warrior ethos, and balancing personal
and professional lives.
Other presentations dealt with ancillary training, professional military
education, developmental special duty assignments and updates to the
Senior Enlisted Leader Management Office.
This year's Command Chief's Huddle also arms Command Chiefs with the
necessary tools to be better leaders and help resolve issues currently
affecting the Air Force.
"Command Chiefs should be leaving here excited, full of knowledge and
motivated," said Chief Master Sgt. Lowell E. Schellhase, command chief
master sergeant of the Iowa ANG. "The key to it is not just leaving
here, but taking it back to our units. Every command chief should go
back energized and apply what they leaned here, every [unit training
assembly] drill, talking with their Airmen and making our Air National
Guard better than it's ever been."