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Air Guard Director Visits Hancock Field

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, director, Air National Guard, presents his coin to Senior Airman Paige Blakeman, Logistics Readiness Squadron, 174th Attack Wing, New York National Guard, during a visit to Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York, Aug. 7, 2021. Blakeman was recognized for her hard work and dedication in preparing equipment for exercise Northern Edge in Alaska. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Fowler)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, director, Air National Guard, presents his coin to Senior Airman Paige Blakeman, Logistics Readiness Squadron, 174th Attack Wing, New York National Guard, during a visit to Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York, Aug. 7, 2021. Blakeman was recognized for her hard work and dedication in preparing equipment for exercise Northern Edge in Alaska. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Fowler)

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, New York --

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NY – U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, director of the Air National Guard and his wife, Dianne, visited the 174th Attack Wing (ATKW), Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY, on Aug. 7, 2021.

Loh’s visit was part of a two-fold outreach trip geared toward gaining an understanding of the Wing’s mission, as well as to meet with the Airmen of the 174th ATKW at a town hall speaking event. Accompanying Loh was U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Shields, Adjutant General, New York National Guard. Both Loh and Shields participated in “discussions on readiness and the future operations and capabilities we are working on here at the wing for the MQ-9 platform,” said Col. William McCrink, 174th Attack Wing commander.

During the visit Loh met with wing leadership for an overview of the attack wing’s mission, capabilities, and key accomplishments in support of National Defense initiatives. Including the wing’s involvement in recent high profile joint-service exercises in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (PACOM) area of responsibility.

“It’s not often that New York Air National Guard units are able to host high level officials and the DANG’s visit was a fantastic opportunity for the wing to highlight our missions and accomplishments while also addressing our challenges and asking the tough questions” said Maj. Suzanne Jedrosko, 174th ATKW director of staff.

While Loh joined in wing leadership discussions, Mrs. Loh participated in a focused discussion council consisting of representatives from the 174th ATKW to include the Wing’s first sergeant, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and other personnel. Discussions focused on how taking care of the health and well-being of service members and their families enables them to accomplish the mission.

“Having Mrs. Loh here gave us a chance to speak to the unique family challenges in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft mission,” said Jedrosko.

During the town hall, Loh took time to recognize three significant contributors to the Wing’s mission: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Mozo, 108th Attack Squadron, Senior Airman Neil Daintree, 174th Attack Wing Maintenance Squadron, and Senior Airman Paige Blakeman, 174th Attack Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron.

“The town hall gave us the opportunity to showcase what we’re doing here at the Wing and the great accomplishments of our Airmen,” said McCrink.

Tech. Sgt. Mozo was recognized for his leadership capabilities as the squadron’s acting Intelligence non-commissioned officer in charge, leading seven junior NCO’s through a surge in operations, overseeing updates to four training phases and 66 mission segments.

Senior Airman Daintree was recognized for his efforts in developing and implementing critical schematic based troubleshooting procedures that are used to restore fiber optic cable signal outages as well as completing in-residence Airman Leadership School as a distinguished graduate.

Senior Airman Blakeman was recognized for her significant contributions to the success of the 2021 Northern Edge exercise. Blakeman ordered, tracked, and maintained accountability throughout the supply chain process for all spare and repair parts needed to support the Wing’s flying assets throughout the exercise; a total value of more than six million dollars.

“I show up to work every day, do my job and try to do it well,” said Blakeman. “Receiving a coin from Lt. Gen. Loh was a surprising and humbling experience.”

During his speech, Loh stressed the significance of pivoting the Air Force mission to answer the call and ensure we overcome “the great power competition with our near peer competitors”.

Furthermore, Loh spoke to Guardsmen highlighting his five priorities for success: ready forces, partnerships; people, policy, and force structure. Exemplifying the Air National Guard’s need to accelerate change, or lose as our mission evolves from the legacy threats in the Middle East, to overcoming the rising powers of the Far Fast.

Additionally Loh took time to answer Airmen’s questions in a very candid Q&A session; addressing and understanding the most important issues affecting our force. Loh reiterated the fact that our Airmen “are going to chart the course of the future of the Air National Guard” and “have a voice inside of the Pentagon”.

Closing the town hall Loh reiterated his gratitude to the men and women of the 174th ATKW. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have made a difference for our nation” and “you continue to deliver air power for our nation.”