ANG director meets with Illinois Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jason Grabiec & Tech. Sgt. Lealan Buehrer
  • 182nd Airlift Wing
Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, the director of the Air National Guard, was joined by his wife, Nancy Rice, during a trip to meet the Airmen of the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Illinois, Oct. 14.

Rice recognized top performers from several squadrons during the visit by coining them during an all-call, listened to Airmen’s concerns and took the opportunity to meet with Illinois Air National Guardsmen in order to get a pulse on mission accomplishment needs.

“One of the reasons – and the primary reason why – I am here right now in front of you is to see what is it that Peoria does that’s so great,” Rice said during the all-call. “[People tell me] ‘That unit in Illinois is making a significant difference in our world.’ I am here to see that. I am here to feel that.”

While the general met with the wing, his wife met with the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the unit’s Community Action Information Board, where she learned about wing programs focused on the health and resilience among the Peoria military community. Topics included alcohol prevention and education, financial awareness and counseling, nutrition and physical fitness, Airman and family relationship support and social media awareness and education.

Coming on a drill weekend allowed the Rices to get a firsthand look at how operations are executed on a daily basis by the Airmen who make it happen. In addition to the all-call, the director ate lunch with Airmen where he asked them about their military experiences and reasons for serving. Afterwards, he learned about the 182nd Maintenance Group’s optimized processes and toured a combat simulator designed by Peoria Special Warfare Airmen.

“At the end of the day [my wife and I] put our notes together, and we talk about the wing and what we feel and what we sense and what we walk away with as we go around after this engagement,” Rice said. ‘And then we figure out, ‘What can we do? How I can use this whole agency to give you more?’ so that you can even do more good things in the world like you are, and continue to make a positive difference for our world.”

Master Sgt. Eve Wasche, the first sergeant at the 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron, was one of several Airmen who ate lunch with the director.

“It was actually an honor to meet him. He wasn’t a hard person to talk to. He was open to having discussions with a bunch of enlisted, which you don’t automatically expect from a three-star general,” she said. “It makes me feel great…It feels like he actually knows and has an idea of what we have to deal with down in the tactical level, so he’s trying to make it easier on us.”

The purpose of the tour was to provide key military leaders with insight on the everyday experiences of Airmen in order to improve the capabilities and production value that the Air National Guard can provide to the Department of Defense.