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Gen. Lengyel visits the Puerto Rico National Guard at Muñiz Air National Guard Base

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Caycee Watson
  • 156th Wing/Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, visited Puerto Rico Air
National Guard’s Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Dec. 2, 2019. Lengyel arrived in Puerto Rico
to meet with senior leaders and discuss the missions and needs of the Puerto Rico National
Guard.

“He came here today because he wanted to meet with the new governor and cultivate support for
the Puerto Rico National Guard, both Army and Air,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Peter Boone, the
156th Wing commander. 

The Puerto Rico Air National Guard's 156th Wing is taking progressive steps toward the unit’s
mission conversion from an airlift wing to contingency response and combat communications.

Lengyel commented on the progress achieved by the Puerto Rico Air National Guard since his
last visit to the island in May, stating that he liked the changes he saw around the base.

“He could feel the energy, he could feel people are excited about the new missions,” said Boone.

Following the back-to-back tragedies the PRANG faced from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the
Rican 68 C-130 airplane crash in 2018, Airmen are focusing on strengthening personnel and unit
readiness, supporting national defense deployment missions overseas, improving compliance and
processes in accordance with Air Force standards, and working diligently to achieve a successful
mission conversion process in the next 30 months.

During his time at Muñiz, Gen. Lengyel was able to visit the 156th Wing’s newly renovated
dining and medical facility as well as get a first-hand look at condemned buildings on base
following Hurricane Maria and other island storms.

“I think the National Guard Bureau realizes the situation we’re in, they realize we need help to
get better. If we need additional resources for manpower or money for projects, as long as we
have justification for our requests, National Guard Bureau has been on board with supporting the
Puerto Rico Air Guard,” said Boone.

Like the new dining facility and medical group building, there are other areas at Muñiz in need
of total demolition or renovation to align with the new combat communications and contingency
response missions, as well as to enhance and grow Airman morale and pride in the unit.

“The Air National Guard plans to continue investing $165 million over the next seven Fiscal
Years into Muñiz and our Geographically Separated Units. The resulting projects will reinforce
our facilities to withstand the next natural disaster, bed-down our exciting new contingency
response and combat communications mission sets, and modernize our infrastructure,” said Lt.
Col. Charles Comfort, the 156th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.

“He’s [Lengyel] chosen to come here twice in the last six months, I think that makes a big
statement. Visits like this solidify the support, it shows that he cares about the Puerto Rico
National Guard,” said Boone.

The Puerto Rico Air National Guard is the nation’s largest bilingual force, becoming a fully
mission capable, rapidly deployable, multi-skilled bridge to the Americas and beyond.