New TAG Visits 167th Airlift Wing
By Major Andrew Schmidt, 167AW/PA
/ Published April 05, 2011
Martinsburg, W.Va. -- Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, newly installed Adjutant General for the West Virginia National Guard, traveled to Martinsburg this weekend to meet with the men and women of the 167th Airlift Wing. During his visit, Gen. Hoyer toured the facility and met with the vast majority of the Airmen here, setting up town-hall-style meetings with small groups of personnel in various areas of the base to share his vision and exchange ideas for the future.
The nation will need the Guard more than ever in these times of shrinking budgets but continuous, ever-present threats, according to the general. "We have an enemy trying to strike us at home and spread us out overseas," he said. "You can't be everywhere at once."
While draw downs will continue in Iraq and Afghanistan, the need for the Guard as an operational force will continue due to its cost-effective nature, he said, and the West Virginia National Guard must be ready to do the mission better, faster and cheaper.
A key point of emphasis during the visit was that Gen. Hoyer had worked closely with retired Adjutant General Allen E. Tackett for the past 15 years, and that major changes in strategy and structure in the West Virginia National Guard were not forthcoming. Long-established projects will continue, such as the "Fort West Virginia" concept.
"Fifteen years ago, Gen. Tackett sat down and road mapped a way where West Virginians who wanted to serve their country in uniform could stay in the state and still support the country to their fullest," he said. "The many fulltime jobs here at the 167th with the C-5 conversion has been one part of implementing this concept."
"I hear some people say that 'forts don't have runways,' but the fort concept resonated stronger than 'joint base West Virginia,' he joked, adding that both Army and Air components are equally valued in the concept. This close cooperation will continue, he said.
"We won the Army Community of Excellence award last year, and on the outbrief the inspectors told us it was specifically because of the close association and cooperation between the Army and Air sides [in West Virginia].
Ultimately, the West Virginia National Guard is about family, he said. "I always say that fathers and mothers give us their sons and daughters so that they can serve their country," he said. "We owe it to them to treat them as our own sons and daughters."