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NEWS | April 9, 2010

Air National Guard - proud to be members of Team Andrews

By Col. Mike McDonald Air National Guard Readiness Center commander

On the northeast side of the base sits a large, two-building, four-story complex called the Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC - you've seen it on the signs). What was once a purely militia force (oneweekend a month, two weeks a year) has transformed into an operational component with our own four-star general: the director of the ANG.

My responsibility as the ANGRC commander is to assist the ANG director in formulating, developing and coordinating all policies affecting more than 108,000 Guard members in more than 1,841 units throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. You can think of us as a major command headquarters for the ANG, much like Air Force District of Washington is the parent HQ for the 316th Wing.

We, the National Guard, were founded in 1636 as an organized militia of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The militias of the colonies and the National Guard of the states have played a role in every national conflict ever since - for more than three centuries. More than 220 years ago, the founding fathers debated the role the military would play in the new nation. The first armed force to answer the call to defend their community, their colony and what would eventually be their country, was the militia or as it is known today ... the National Guard. As the air-arm of the militia, the Air National Guard was officially established as a separate component of the U.S. Air Force in September 1947.

Our mission in Afghanistan is Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, with more than 185,500 deployment requirements filled. That's with our 106,700 members - many of whom have deployed more than once as we share the load with our Active Duty wingmen. The ANG provides 35 percent of the Air Force's total capability in the fight against terrorism. We have flown more than 210,000 flights and nearly 600,000 hours since 9/11; that's nearly 100 flights a day, every day for five years, with a "reserve" force. The Air National Guard averages about 6,000 people deployed around the world at any given time. Our mission is to "Secure the Homeland and Defend the Nation" and we've been doing this since before America was a country; here during continental U.S. state emergencies or overseas when the president calls for support.

With the ever increasing overseas deployments for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines we are working side-by-side with Active Duty to ensure support, effectiveness and mission accomplishment in all of the theatres around the world. With an all volunteer force protecting our country, I am truly impressed by our young wingmen. Day in and day out, throughout Joint Base Andrews, I continually see the dedication, desire and professionalism of today's Airmen and I am proud of their sacrifices and true patriotism.

We are proud to be a member of Team Andrews and I look forward to the opportunities today and on the horizon to participate with you, in the evolution of the Air Force, Air National Guard and the Armed Forces.