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Home : News
NEWS | March 29, 2011

Alaska Guardmembers complete first UTA on JBER

By Air Force Maj. Guy Hayes Alaska National Guard

CAMP DENALI, Alaska - The Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing completed their first unit training assembly March 19-20 at their new home on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

“It puts the Alaska Air National Guard right smack dab in the middle of the total force arena,” said Alaska Air National Guard State Command Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Hogan.

“The 176th Wing is working with its active duty partners not only in our associate roles with the C-17 and C-130 missions, but also as tenants on JBER, he said.

“We now count on active duty support to complete all our missions. We are all on the same team and have to work together to be successful.”

Working together and building partnerships is a key component to the 176th Wing's development at JBER and one Alaska Air National Guardmembers are embracing.

“The facilities are very nice and beginning to look and feel more like home,” said 176th Wing Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Foster.

“It takes time to get it right, so as we develop our processes, we're taking time to ensure we're doing the right thing the right way,” he said. “We don't want to do it twice.”

With any move, adapting to your new surroundings and improving processes is part of the challenge.

Working unexpected issues, such as dining facility capacity and timing for sending 1500 Guardsmen to lunch is just one area that 176th Wing leadership are focused on improving following the first UTA.

“We knew there would be some growing pains,” Foster said.

“While it's good that none of them are show-stoppers, we are working hard to fix the few we faced this weekend,” he said. “I know we can overcome these, and I am sure we'll learn more about living and working on JBER every day.”

Besides the occasional bump in the road, 176th Guardmembers are excited about a multitude of new services available to them as JBER tenants and are looking forward to their future working together with the active duty and Air Force Reserve as a total force.

“We have four active duty Air Force enlisted personnel using our building, Monday through Friday, to complete physical health assessments,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Sharolyn Lange, 176th Medical Group chief of nursing services.

“There is active duty from all over the base filing through the building all the time now rubbing elbows with the Guard,” she said.

“Kudos also to the 477th Fighter Group for assisting with DEERS and ID Cards as our Force Support Flight transitions to JBER,” said Air Force Maj. Kay Spear-Budd, 176th Wing executive officer. “We really appreciate the support as we settle in at our new home.”

With so many new opportunities, 176th Guard members have a bright future in their new home at JBER following their successful move from Kulis Air National Guard Base in February.

“The partnerships we have with the 673rd and other tenants at JBER are superb,” Foster said. “I am very happy knowing that our Airmen are taking good advantage of all the joint base offers, including the many cooperative and integrated events we conducted this past weekend.”