MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina --
Leaders of the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing hosted a visit by U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 5th congressional district here, Nov. 6.
Congressman Mick Mulvaney, received a mission brief that focused on the unique nature of McEntire Joint National Guard Base and value to the taxpayer. The visit ended with a tour of the installation.
The briefing kicked-off with comments about the stellar performance history of the 169th Fighter Wing by Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., The Adjutant General of South Carolina. Much of the conversation centered on fiscal issues and how the 169th Fighter Wing is a cost-effective component of national defense.
During his introductory comments, Livingston said, "I believe you'll come away from today's visit impressed by the unique blend of Air Guard, Army Guard and Active Duty resources stationed here at McEntire. In addition to being home to the best F-16 fighter wing in the world, this base is a model for efficiency, collaboration and overall bang for the buck."
Brig. Gen. Michael Hudson, chief of staff for the S.C. Air National Guard, provided an in-depth review of the wing and how the unit maintains its combat-ready status at nearly one-third the cost of a similar active duty fighter wing. He emphasized that McEntire JNGB is one of only three wings in the Air National Guard to own its base and is not collocated on an active duty base or civilian airport. The base is also one of only 16 wings in the nation that provides 24/7 support to homeland defense.
"We stay combat-ready all the time. We maintain the same qualifications as any active duty unit," said Hudson.
Hudson emphasized that McEntire JNGB operates on nothing but the basics to perform its mission and the Air National Guard provides 35 percent of the U.S. Air Force's airpower while only using 6.5 percent of the budget. Livingston added that Army National Guard provides roughly 40 percent of U.S. Army's combat power at only 8 percent of the budget.
"There are no extras here [McEntire JNGB]. We don't have a Base Exchange, library, commissary, bowling alley or golf course. We don't have anything else, except what is required to support our mission," said Hudson.
Livingston added that it was important to understand that every South Carolina National Guard member lives in communities throughout the state. So when the unit is mobilized, the entire state feels the impact. Hudson referred to this as community basing; where unit members live, work and go to school in their neighborhoods and spend money at local businesses.
Hudson wrapped-up his briefing by listing the major accomplishments of the South Carolina Army National Guard units stationed at McEntire JNGB. He described the unique capabilities of Apache, Chinook, Blackhawk and Lakota helicopter units as well as the hard work done by Combined Support Maintenance Shop.
"There's absolutely no substitute for seeing these operations up close and in person. I appreciate the opportunity General Hudson and General Livingston afforded me to not only hear about all the things that McEntire does so well but to see them for myself," said Mulvaney.
The visit concluded with a tour of the installation which included a close-up look at the 169th Aerospace Control Alert facility and the Army Aviation complex.