JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III assumed the duties and responsibilities of director, Air National Guard in a ceremony, March 22, at the Air National Guard Readiness Center.
Clarke took over as director from Lt. Gen. Harry “Bud” Wyatt, who retired.
A command pilot with more than 4000 hours, including more than 100 combat hours, in the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon, Clarke assumed his current position after serving as commander of 1st Air Force and Continental U.S. North America Aerospace Defense Command.
“The opportunity to watch Clarke at 1st Air Force was tremendous for me to learn his great capabilities,” said Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, during the ceremony.
Due to his background, Clarke was uniquely positioned and had the right skill set to take on the duties of director, Grass said.
“An Alabama Air Guardsman, who served as the assistant adjutant general for Air, an A-10 and F-16 pilot who commanded a squadron, wing and expeditionary wing, all of what prepared him for this job,” said Grass. “He will be representing everyone in this building and all those in the Air National Guard across the map in the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia.”
Clarke has been busy as he settled into his new role.
“There’s a lot to learn,” Clarke said. “But, I’ve hit the ground running and am drinking from the fire hose. I have already been on the hill seven times and testified twice.”
However, he said his new role is a humbling one.
“This is quite an honor and I am humbled at the opportunity to serve those in the Air Guard,” Clarke said.
As Clarke takes the reins as director, he said he sees tremendous opportunities despite recent budget cutbacks.
“I’ve arrived in a time of budget turmoil and uncertainty, but I view this as a time of opportunity as well,” he said, adding that his focus and commitment is evident.
“My commitment to the Airmen and the adjutants general is clear,” he said. “We will do everything within our authority to ensure our Airmen have clear policies, equipment, training and resources to accomplish assigned missions. We remain community based, team oriented and experienced.”
Clarke is ready to face those issues, Grass said.
“He has stepped up to the challenge,” Grass said. “I can tell you I’ve already watched him as he’s taken on that challenge.”