MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
U.S. Airmen assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing have completed training throughout the last few months here in response to a mass directive aimed at the Air Force from Gen. David Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
“The CSAF is saying we need to focus on other core competencies,” said Col. Akshai Gandhi, the vice wing commander of the 169th Fighter Wing. “Full Spectrum Readiness is nothing more than a step-up in our readiness posture.”
Swamp Fox Airmen continue to hone routine skills to meet combatant command requirements. The muscle memory that is formed by using this equipment multiple times allows Airmen the ability to focus their attention on completing the mission under austere conditions.
“Full Spectrum Readiness is a way of addressing and refocusing the Air Force for all of the advanced capabilities and to make sure we’re ready for that and that we’ll be able to fight in a contested environment,” said Col. Nicholas Gentile, Jr., the wing commander of the 169th Fighter Wing. “We’re not exactly sure where our nation is going to need us, but we’re going to be prepared for any interventions.”
The capability and technology gaps that existed between America and our near-peer adversaries has closed at an alarming rate during the last ten years.
“The tax-payer expects us to be on the tip of the spear and in order to do that, we’ve had to increase the amount of time we spend in chemical gear, the manner in which we train in it and the way we’re working on some of our advanced weaponry,” said Gentile. “It’s necessary to be able to handle the full spectrum threat.”
There has been an increased military presence here during the course of the last few months in part due to traditional Guardsmen taking time in-between drills to accomplish some of the additional training so that they can continue to complete their jobs during unit training assemblies.
“It tells you something about the way the National Guard runs and the caliber of people that we have here,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Thorne, the commander of the 169th Aerospace Control Alert Detachment. “It’s also reflective of the support that employers have for their members in our organization. The fact that we have employers that support our Guardsmen is part of what enables us to say that we’re full spectrum ready.”
“I appreciate the seriousness and the intensity that our Airmen have placed on embracing this increased readiness and the additional workload that had been placed upon them,” said Gentile. “We stand ready now as a Wing as we have for decades to deploy wherever we’re needed.”