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McEntire Joint National Guard Base holds Legislative Day for Congressional, state leaders and staff

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette speaks with Airmen from the 169th Fighter Wing during her visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Arthur (right), Tower Chief Controller, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron, briefs U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David Jenkins (left), Assistant Adjuant General- Army and Mr. Larry Ward (center), staffer for U.S. Rep. James Clyburn during a tour March 5, 2021 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base (JNGB). The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Lt.Col. Jim St.Clair)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Arthur (right), Tower Chief Controller, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron, briefs U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David Jenkins (left), Assistant Adjuant General- Army and Mr. Larry Ward (center), staffer for U.S. Rep. James Clyburn during a tour March 5, 2021 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base (JNGB). The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Lt.Col. Jim St.Clair)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Col. Phillip Latham, 169th Medical Group commander, briefs senior congressional staff on March 5, 2021 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Col. Adrian Meyer, 169th Maintenance Group commander, speaks with Ms. Briana Bateman, staffer for U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Travis Gaskins Smith, 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament maintenance specialist, greets Mr. Sam McGill, a staffer from U.S. Rep. Tom Rice’s office, during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty (center), The Adjutant General for South Carolina, and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Boris Armstrong (left), South Carolina Air National Guard Chief of Staff, speak with Mr. Carl Blackstone (right), staffer for U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Army Col. Christopher Hyman (right), South Carolina National Guard Chief of Staff, speaks with South Carollina Rep. Lonnie Hosey during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Boris Armstrong (right), South Carolina Air National Guard Chief of Staff, speaks with Mr. Van Cato, staffer for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lauren Avila, 169th Maintenance Squadron egress systems specialist, greets U.S. Rep. William Timmons during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)
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Airmen from the 169th Medical Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base greet three members of Congress, South Carolina's Lt. Gov., members of the South Carolina Legislature plus senior congressional staff to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Miranda Parnell, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Bridgers (left), South Carolina National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, speaks with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (right) and South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson (center) during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Bacalzo, 169th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs)
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U.S. Air Force Col. Michael A. Ferrario, 169th Operations Group, shows the expansiveness of the airfield from atop of the base air traffic control tower to Mr. George Abuzeid, a staffer from the office of Congressman William Timmons, during a visit to McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, March 5, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Amy Bodkins, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Three members of Congress, South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor, members of the South Carolina Legislature plus senior congressional staff spent March 5, 2021 with leaders of the South Carolina Military Department at McEntire Joint National Guard Base (JNGB), South Carolina. The purpose of the visit was to highlight the capabilities of McEntire JNGB for federal and state response as well as the benefits McEntire JNGB provides to the citizens of South Carolina. “We are honored to show our distinguished visitors McEntire’s value to our community, state and nation,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Akshai Gandhi, the 169th Fighter Wing Commander.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman and U.S. Rep. William Timmons were joined by South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, plus nearly 25 other elected leaders and their senior staff for an historic visit to McEntire JNGB. The group was greeted by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, the Adjutant General of South Carolina. McCarty started the visit with a welcome briefing and overview of the day’s activities.

“Our facilities are a cornerstone of readiness. Today, you will explore our flagship installation unique nationally in its features and capabilities. McEntire is home to the 169th Fighter Wing of the South Carolina Air National Guard, Army Guard aviation units, the Joint Armed Forces Reserve Center and multiple supporting units. Fortunately we have the capacity to expand to extend and modernize as evidenced by our current strategic initiatives,” McCarty said.

After receiving a safety brief, the guests were taken to the Army Guard’s flight line where half of the group boarded South Carolina Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for an aerial orientation tour of McEntire JNGB. The other half were transported to the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron’s tower for a tour and demonstration.

The helicopter orientation flight highlighted several areas on base such as the pending main runway improvements, the new hazardous cargo pad and the future F-16/F-35 simulator facility. The 500 foot perspective also highlighted McEntire’s ideal rural location and lack of encroachment complications for next generation fighter aircraft basing.

During a working lunch, the visitors received a briefing from Gandhi and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Boris Armstrong, the South Carolina Air National Guard (SCANG) Chief of Staff, who discussed future mission priorities at McEntire. The visitors also heard from first-term Airmen and Soldiers plus two members of the South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe program about what the Guard means to them. Also during the lunch, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn was able to join his colleagues virtually from Washington D.C. via Zoom to participate in the discussion.

The congressional delegation visit occurred in the middle of the SCANG’s March “Super Drill” weekend which is a four-day training event instead of the usual two days. The SCANG is preparing for a real-world overseas deployment next month so after lunch, the delegation stopped by the personnel deployment processing line to observe how the SCANG prepares its Airmen to deploy. The congressional delegation also had a chance to speak one-on-one with Airmen from their own district.

Other highlights of the visit included a windshield tour of the base with stops at base operations for an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation demonstration and at a medical tent for a Critical Care Action Team demonstration. The tour concluded with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter orientation tour for the half that didn’t fly in the morning go as well as an AH-64 Apache helicopter simulator demonstration for the group that flew in the morning.