Air National Guard Command Chief Hotaling visits 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware ANG

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Valerie Harwood
  • 166th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The highest ranking enlisted member in the Air National Guard visited the 166th Airlift Wing here Oct. 18 to foster direct communication with Airmen.

As the Air National Guard Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling is responsible for matters influencing the health, morale and welfare of ANG personnel and their families.

During his visit Hotaling spoke face-to-face with Airmen about his key focus areas, renewing the commitment to the profession of arms, the health of the force, and recognizing and embracing Airmen's accomplishments. He also wanted to provide Airmen with the opportunity to have their questions answered and learn about any problems they may encounter which keep them from doing their jobs effectively.

Hotaling spoke to junior enlisted members during the Junior Enlisted Call, which encompasses enlisted members from airman basic to technical sergeant.

"Chief Hotaling hit some strong points on rebluing, remembering where you came from and starting from the beginning when you get down," said Staff Sgt. Carlos Guevara, a new member of the 166th Force Support Squadron. "Chief Hotaling reminded us that as Airmen many of us are trying to figure it out, what it's all for - our purpose that is. We need to look at our job and ourselves and say 'it's all for the bigger cause' and ask 'what's important to the mission?' Another good piece of information was that more Airman Leadership School seats are expected to open up soon for the Air National Guard."

"One item currently being addressed is increasing seat availability for in-residence courses," said Hotaling. "Not every traditional Guardsman can attend in-resident courses due to their civilian commitments, so the Air National Guard is looking at increasing satellite learning starting with Airman Leadership School. The active duty Air Force is moving towards the Guard's model of blended learning because it is a better product."

Hotaling discussed increasing seat availability for satellite and blended learning environments for professional military education.

"The Air Force recognizes that blended learning is the best route for service members to learn," said Hotaling. "Blended Learning is facilitating online and classroom education courses. With distance learning courses, we all learn at different paces and on your own time. In-resident courses dig deeper in the core subject matter."

Hotaling challenged the 166th AW Airmen to progress in their PME.

"We have the resources available to make this happen," said Hotaling.

"The message received from the Junior Enlisted Call was to take pride in being an Airman," said Tech. Sgt. Jacqueline Gimbutas, 166th FSS.

Gimbutas said she enjoyed the story Hotaling told about how when soldiers' horses became obsolete but the men were still good soldiers and that the good soldiers had to adapt to the new technology presented to them.

This is true because technology is always changing, said Gimbutas.

As a finance support member Gimbutas said she appreciated hearing how support staff positions that were once eliminated may be coming back to relieve the overwhelming administration duties that have been pushed onto service members to do themselves due to cost and saving initiatives.

"If support staff positions were brought back into sections it would save service members many man-hours from having to do administrative functions such as DTS [Defense Travel Service]," Gimbutas said.

Master Sgt. Kathleen O'Brien, 166th FSS, attended the Top Three Enlisted Call, which encompasses master sergeant to chief master sergeant ranks.

While meeting with the Top Three Enlisted Call, Hotaling discussed the Airman Comprehensive Assessment, and how it will apply to the ANG.

"These are the same [Air Mobility Command] evaluation standards that the Air Force Reserve and regular Air Force uphold to evaluate their enlisted force," said Hotaling when discussing the pros and cons of the enlisted performance report system being implemented in the ANG. The ACA Performance Report for enlisted Airmen and officers replaced the EPR on July 1. The ACA feedback forms include a self-assessment broken into four categories: responsibility, accountability, Air Force culture and self. The ACA will give Airmen an opportunity to engage in their career progression. Airmen need to know, 'Am I doing a good job?' We owe it to our Airmen to give them feedback on their performance and steps to promotion."

Hotaling also focused on supervision and leadership.

"Listen to your people and consider the whole person to include their physical and mental health, ensure all your people have the resources they need to do their job and make sure they receive all required training for their Air Force Specialty Code," said O'Brien, referring to what she took away from the enlisted call. "The new ancillary training will allow more time for members to complete actual on job training."

Chief Hotaling met with the base Chaplain Corps, Airman and Family Readiness, the Air Wing Integrator, and the Director of Psychological Health and discussed the importance of the Community Action Information Board and the Integrated Delivery System.

"Chief Hotaling addressed how important it is for these two groups to work together to ensure leadership has an accurate sense of what is happening on our base and what is affecting our military members and their families, so they can make informed decisions at the command level," said 1st Lt. Lauren Mease, Airman and Family Readiness Program manager.

The IDS has been described as the action arm of the CAIB. It is made up of individuals who have a primary responsibility of providing family services and prevention and education activities related to individual, family, and community concerns. The IDS identifies concerns and presents solutions to the CAIB who can review, approve, and implement changes.

"Chief Hotaling's other message was the need for resilient Airmen," Mease said. "He emphasized the importance of resiliency during difficult or uncertain times and pushed us to continue to take care of our members."