MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
The president of the National Guard Association of the United States, retired U.S. Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, witnessed his first ever Swamp Fox air defense practice scramble during a visit to the base, Sept. 23.
“I can’t express to you the value of being able to see the operations and watch members of the South Carolina Air National Guard and their Air Force counterparts respond to a call. I couldn't have been more impressed with the South Carolina National Guard and the amazing leadership that is in place,” said Robinson.
Retired S.C. Air National Guard State Command Chief Master Sgt. Lawrence Crowson, the executive director of the National Guard Association of S.C., initiated the visit with Robinson.
“He’s a retired brigadier general from the Army Guard, so I wanted to bring him out here and give him some Air Guard exposure,” said Crowson.
During the visit, Robinson saw 169th Fighter Wing Airmen conduct a practice scramble and received a mission brief from U.S. Air Force Col. Nicholas Gentile Jr., the 169FW commander. The information presented to Robinson covered the different facets of McEntire JNGB, including the joint assets and capabilities with the Army National Guard, the STARBASE Swamp Fox program, Eagle Vision, the wing’s homeland defense mission and future upgrades to modernize the base’s F-16 Fighting Falcon jets.
“He had not been exposed to a fighter wing before and was very impressed with the professionalism and the capabilities of our Airmen and that we are doing this [homeland defense] mission 24/7, 365 days for our state and nation,” said Gentile.
NGAUS represents its members and the entire National Guard on the issues that directly impact them, their units, their families and their employers, according to www.ngaus.org.
Robinson spent time with Swamp Fox Airmen discussing their benefits and deployment impacts while observing the importance of the Homeland Defense mission carried out at McEntire JNGB.
“I think in the time we had him out here, we brought him up to date on what’s going on in the Air National Guard and how important the homeland defense mission is, which includes the whole base,” said Crowson.
The National Guard Association of the United States and Enlisted Association of the National Guard exist to provide Guardsmen with representation before Congress.
“EANGUS and NGAUS are big lobbyist, and we were able to brief the NGAUS president on everything that’s going on at McEntire, so when he’s testifying in front of Congress, he can talk about the importance of keeping the funding up,” said Crowson. “The whole idea was to get his level of awareness up.”
Membership in professional organizations is encouraged for every Guardsman. Because these groups advocate for guard Airmen and Soldiers, we have benefits which include insurance policies, retirement benefits, publications, scholarships and various retail discounts.
“NGAUS has been a very vocal advocate for us and our Airmen, so by supporting these organizations, like NGAUS and EANGUS, that do such great work for us at the national level, we’re also enabling them to continue to speak and make those contacts, which will directly come back to benefit us,” said Gentile.