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Swamp Fox Airmen welcome Air Guard's top enlisted advisor

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago
  • 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Air National Guard is rapidly changing, said the ANG top enlisted advisor during his recent visit with Swamp Fox Airmen here, April 11th.

Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, Command Chief of the Air National Guard, visited with Swamp Fox Airmen as part of a two-day trip to the South Carolina Air National Guard, April 11-12. His message to the Airmen was simple, and emphasized commitments to the profession of arms, health of the force and embracing the Air National Guard's accomplishments.

"The Guard is moving at a lighting fast speed, and understanding our commitment to the profession of arms, no matter what your status is, full time or part time, you are full-time Airman. You need to be adaptable to change because this is your profession," Hotaling said.

Hotaling, who assumed his current role in February 2013, serves as the 11th Command Chief of the Air National Guard, representing the highest level of enlisted leadership and is the principal enlisted advisor to the Director of the Air National Guard. He is responsible for matters influencing the health, morale, welfare and professional development of more than 105,400 enlisted Air Guard members. 

During his visit to McEntire, Hotaling hosted two separate town hall meetings - one for ranks E-6 and below the other one for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers - to hear concerns from the enlisted members.

Due to the high operational tempo and stress environment seen throughout the Guard he emphasized to Senior NCOs the importance of knowing the four pillars of resiliency. 

"The most powerful weapon system we have is Airmen," Hotaling said. "We spend a lot of time talking about the quality of the fuel we put in jets, why don't we spend the time talking about what we ingest. It comes down to diet, nutrition and exercise."

Hotaling had the opportunity to spend time and eat lunch with the unit's Airmen of the Year and recognize them on their accomplishments. He also met with representatives from the enlisted councils on base. 

"It is not every day that you have the opportunity to discuss relevant issues with the Command Chief of the Air National Guard," said Master Sgt. Josh Thacker, a quality assurance inspector for the 169th Maintenance Group and president of the base's Top Three council. "The biggest takeaway from his visit was his perspective on time.  He emphasized that we will always be busy, but we need to make sure that we make time to invest in ourselves."

Hotaling was hosted by Chief Master Sgt. Dean Widener, State Command Chief for the South Carolina Air National Guard, and Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Shepherd, the Command Chief for the 169th Fighter Wing, during his visit to McEntire.

"This was Chief Hotaling's first tour of McEntire, and we appreciate him visiting with our Airmen and NCOs," said Widener. "Chief Hotaling shared the importance of renewing our commitment to the Profession of Arms, the health of our force and recognizing and embracing our accomplishments. We cannot change our heritage as Swamp Fox's, but we must be able to change our culture with the direction the Air National Guard is heading in the future."

Hotaling, who has more than 28 years of military service, previously served as Command Chief for 1st Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and the Command Chief with the 142nd Fighter Wing at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon.

"We wear our profession on our sleeves 24-7, 365 days a year. If you think this is a part-time job it is not," Hotaling said.