DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey spent Monday afternoon visiting with Airmen and getting a firsthand look at the diverse operations conducted here, including the missions of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing, which the governor oversees as commander-in-chief of all Arizona’s guardsmen not mobilized in support of a federal mission.
Airmen from 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) started the visit with a mission briefing and tour of the 612th Air Operations Center, which provides command and control of air and space power in United States Southern Command’s area of responsibility, to include 31 countries covering one sixth of the world’s land mass and 559 million people.
The second stop on the tour was the 214th Reconnaissance Group, a unit of the Arizona Air National Guard 162nd Wing that flies the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle in daily combat missions via satellite, providing troops on the ground with almost around-the-clock intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The visit was particularly impactful for the air guardsmen who had the opportunity to meet their top leader and advocate.
“Having the opportunity to shake hands with the governor leaves myself and fellow coworkers with a stronger sense of pride and purpose,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Weinstein, a crew chief with the 162nd Aerospace Control Alert Detachment. “Receiving this type of recognition from our state commander-in-chief is truly a humbling experience.”
Following an aircraft static display of the A-10, EC-130, HC-130J and HH-60, the governor concluded his base visit with a tour of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing Aerospace Control Alert Detachment that operates 24/7 to provide a rapid reaction force of F-16s ensuring air sovereignty over the Southwest.
The alert detachment was recently awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for maintaining a remarkable record of outstanding performance and achieving the fastest F-16 scramble observed to date, outstanding intelligence support and zero maintenance discrepancies, according to the award citation.
“Arizona is home to some of the most professional, patriotic and mission-ready Airmen in the world, and I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with many of them today at Davis-Monthan,” Ducey said. “Being able to shake the hands of the women and men who defend our state and protect American freedom – and knowing that this elite class of service members is being trained right here in Arizona – is a humbling experience and a great honor. We salute them all.”