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Commentary Search

March Chief's Concerns

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Stovall
  • 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron
Sir Issac Newton, a noted English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor and natural philosopher was once quoted saying, "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." I can honestly say with great humility, that my years of service at McEntire reflect the sentiments of this great quote, which I have entitled "Past, Present and Future...Preserving Our Legacy." The unsung heroes of the "Swamp Fox" Legacy have always been the SCANG members - especially among our enlisted core. Whenever true victory or progress was realized, most likely it occurred on the shoulders of our great enlisted core. And through their valor and selfless contributions, there's a long list of greats - both officer and enlisted, who would fit this distinguished category. But amid the accolades and recognition, lies an ever-present responsibility and obligation to preserve this special distinction of honor and pride that only a McEntire Swamp Fox guard member can claim.

Our legacy started in December 1946 and is filled with great accomplishments. SCANG members have stepped up countless times without hesitation to uphold and preserve the Swamp Fox name, despite the ultimate sacrifice of life being at stake. Our past accomplishments include major contingencies and deployments - from service in the Korean War, the Berlin Crisis, 1960s engagement in Moron, Spain, to being major stakeholders in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and various other deployments both CONUS and OCONUS. It is on the shoulders of these great men and women that we duly thank for their vision, courage and leadership in paving the way for what exists today. Our present day obligation to this legacy cannot be over stated and should be one of the keys that motivate us towards a higher level of excellence.   

SCANG opportunities are available for the brightest and most dedicated young men and women the guard has to offer. I encourage all of you to take advantage of the many tools available. But remember to do yourself a favor by at least doing the basics such as...being prepared for Unit Training Assembly weekends (attitude, uniform etc.), knocking out all of your Computer Based Training, ancillary items and medical requirements. Become the expert, the "go to" Airman and leader in your section, and get your Professional Military Education/Community College of the Air Force requirements done ASAP. Become involved with a professional organization.  Network!  ALWAYS give 110 percent. Realize that you are a part of something bigger and more special than any one individual. The South Carolina Air National Guard today consists of more than 1,200 members. And EVERY member has as much right and responsibility to this legacy as the next member.

Many of you I've talked with over the years don't feel a part of this great legacy, the McEntire Family, which is understandable. I too at one point felt the same. And nothing changed until I made the "command" decision to change my own attitude and behavior FIRST versus blaming others. From that point on, that's when things really began to change for me. My approach to every situation or challenge was with a positive mental attitude. And despite some of the major challenges I encountered, I never let that stop me from accomplishing my goal. And I encourage all of you to NEVER underestimate your value to the SCANG as well.

I remember retired Chief Master Sergeant Richie Pardue saying to me, " have just as much right as anybody else - and you are crazy if you quit because of some ole' fool!" I'm glad I listened to the Chief.  Your determination today to stand tall on principle and persevere could be the difference maker that helps uphold our legacy and pave the way for future SCANG members.

Today as I write this article, I stand on your shoulders in awe of all that you've done, continue to do and will do in the future. Thank you for your service and may God bless you always.