Director of the ANG visits 184th IW

Lt. Gen. Scott Rice (right), director of the Air National Guard, and Col. Dave Weishaar, commander, 184th Intelligence Wing, visit with Kansas Air National Guardsmen at Smoky Hill Weapons Range, Kansas, Fab. 2. The visit was part of Rice’s tour of the 184th Intelligence Wing which is located at McConnell Air Force Base, about 95 miles south of Smoky Hill. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy)

By Master Sgt. Matt McCoy, 184th Public Affairs

The 184th Intelligence Wing welcomed Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Feb. 2-3. He was joined by Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Anderson, command chief master sergeant of the ANG.

During his visit, he toured nearly every section assigned to the unit.

“I’m trying to get out with the command chief and my wife, Nancy, and see some of the exceptional bases within our community and what makes them special, and the unique way each unit accomplishes their mission for our Air Force,” said Rice.

Rice began his visit Friday at Smoky Hill Weapons Range which is about 95 miles north of McConnell Air Force Base. He was greeted by Maj. Gen. Lee Tafenelli, adjutant general, Kansas National Guard; Col. David Weishaar, commander, 184th IW; and the men and women assigned to Detachment 1 and the 284th Air Support Operations Squadron.

The visitors spent the afternoon touring both squadrons on the range.

Chief Master Sgt. Ron Anderson, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard, talks with Airmen assigned to the 284th Air Support Operations Squadron during a lunch at Smoky Hill Weapons Range, Fab.2. Anderson accompanied Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, during a tour of the 184th Intelligence Wing. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy)

Rice arrived for drill the next morning at the wing’s headquarters building. He received a mission brief to start the day and spent the rest of his time touring the ANG complex.

“I have been very encouraged by coming here, seeing the wing and seeing all the things you do, all the moving parts and how it all comes together,” said Rice.

Rice expressed admiration for the way a variety of mission sets can work together as one unified force.

“I really like the diversity [of this wing] because it gives opportunities for people to do some different things and think about things in different ways,” said Rice. “Surprisingly, I don’t feel people doing totally separate things.”

“This is a wing of capability,” he continued. “This is not just a group of diverse squadrons or groups doing different things, this is one wing doing great stuff for our Air Force. It’s been eye opening for me.”

Rice also said he could feel the enthusiasm and pride as he spoke with Airmen throughout the wing.

Chief Master Sgt. Richard Knoblock, superintendent, 184th Medical Group, notes Tech. Sgt. Morgan Colleran’s accomplishments before Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, director, Air National Guard, and Chief Master Sgt. Ron Anderson, command chief, Air National Guard, present their coin to her. (Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob Lewis)

“I’ve had people actually look me in the eye and say, ‘I come here because I feel like I’m part of this unit,’ and, ‘I feel like we’re making a difference in the world and making it a better place.’ I can’t ask anything better from somebody than that,” said Rice.

His schedule included an assembly in Flanary Hall during which he and Anderson addressed Airmen from all sections of the unit.

Rice said he specifically wanted to thank all the Airmen of the 184th IW for what he called “quiet professionalism.”

Anderson agreed.

“We have instant credibility because of each and every one of you,” said Anderson. “The great work, the quiet professionalism you bring every single day to make this mission happen, and it just happens quietly under the surface, sets the tone for how we’re respected and how we’re treated on Capitol Hill.”

Anderson also recognized that strong support systems, especially family and friends, make huge differences in the way Airmen deal with the stresses of military service.

“The difference that we have in the Air National Guard, that strategic advantage, is you, our Airmen,” said Anderson. “Those who love you and support you, your family members; every single one of those enable you to be here, they also serve next to you, beside you and support you.”

“None of us can do what we do without someone behind us, holding us up and helping us,” said Anderson. “That is the strategic advantage that we bring to the fight.”

Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, director, Air National Guard, speaks to Airmen of the 184th Intelligence Wing at an all call, Feb 3. (Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Penney)

The pair of leaders also emphasized the importance of taking care of each other and taking care of ourselves.

“You can look to the left and to the right of you and you can probably help somebody sitting next you better than you can, sometimes, help yourself,” said Rice. “Sometimes you’re too close to the flame, too close to the issue; too close to the problem, that you just don’t see it.”

Rice mentioned some of the struggles he faces and how he relies on his closest, best friend.

“Thank goodness for my wife, Nancy!” said Rice. “She really helps me be a solid person. I do see, as she helps me, I get to help her and encourage her. I can help her probably more times than I can help myself. That’s what you can do for each other.”

“Help each other, protect each other and show respect for each other and always remember that it’s important how we treat each other,” said Rice. “That’s the strength of an organization.”

Lt. Gen. Scott Rice (left), director, Air National Guard, speaks with Airmen assigned to the 134th Air Control Squadron during a tour of the 184th Intelligence Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Feb. 3. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Alex Brun)