Acting Director of the Air National Guard visits the Puerto Rico Air National Guard

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christian Jadot
  • 156th Airlift Wing
The 156th Airlift Wing here received a visit from the Acting Director, Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Brian G. Neal, April 9 to meet the unit's airmen and observe operations.

Neal toured the 156 AW facilitates and met with airmen to acquire an insight into personnel, mission and capabilities. Many members of the 156 AW met with Neal one on one and in group sessions to discuss their unit and issues concerning the PRANG and the Air National Guard as a whole.

"Right now the Air National Guard and the Air Force is as close as they have ever been," Neal said. "The Air Force is very aware of the PRANG. I have talked to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force about the PRANG. I talked to the commander of Air Mobility about the PRANG. The last thing I told him was how your aircraft are doing, and that they are a go."

During an airman's call for lower grade officers and enlisted personnel, Neal reaffirmed how important the (younger) airmen are to the future Air National Guard as a whole.

"You guys [PRANG] are talked about everywhere," Neal said. "That's why it is important to build a strong NCO core of the future and a strong officer core of the future, which is you guys."

These discussions covered a variety of different topics; however, one of the prominent issues was the future of the wing. Neal addressed the concerns of the PRANG airmen during a question and answer session.

"I see a lot of quality in this wing. It is a huge family," said Airman 1st Class Christopher Castro, 156th Operations Support Squadron aviation resource manager. "Without the proper resources, the quality of the PRANG does not shine through. What we need is quality aircraft. We want to deploy. Many airmen in the PRANG have discussed deployments. We are all very concerned about the future of the unit. We are fighters here. We want to be on the map. Is there anything else that the Puerto Rico needs to do to make us a hot topic?"

"It is simple...You are doing all the right things right now," Neal replied. "Just keep doing them. Have faith in your leadership, and then become that leadership. We will try and keep you guys healthy and keep you in a good mission to support the war fight. That's what we do."

Neal assured the airmen of the PRANG that there will always be a place for Puerto Rico in the Air National Guard. He explained how missions change and evolve based on the needs of our nation, but the unit itself will remain a valuable asset for the nation's future.

"Our desire is to have a follow-on flying mission here at the PRANG, that is my desire, that is the desire of everyone at National Guard Bureau," Neal said. "I can see there is a lot of concern here. I am going to tell you this, the PRANG is here to stay."