Guardsmen attend Arizona State of the State address
By Staff Sgt. Erich B. Smith, 162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 15, 2013
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Four Airmen from the 162nd Fighter Wing witnessed civilian government formality firsthand during Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's State of the State address at the La Paloma Resort Jan. 14. Guardsmen report to the governors of their respective states so the event had an immediate relevancy to the attending wing members.
"She's our boss, and we should know what we're supporting," said Senior Airman Breona Calvert, a knowledge operations manager here and one of the four local guardsmen in attendance.
"We shouldn't just be drones because we signed a paper," she said. "So it's good to know where we fit into things."
In her address, Brewer discussed state commerce matters, the future of public and social services and pending budgetary concerns. She has been no stranger, however, to the well-being of military members and their unwavering commitment to service.
In the fall of 2010, Brewer visited the 162nd Fighter Wing to show her support for the unit housing the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters.
She made a series of surprise visits to Arizona guardsmen in Kuwait and Afghanistan in December.
The local Airmen were sponsored by BBVA Compass Bank. "The majority of guests at the event were other civic leaders, community representatives and business executives," said Maj. Tracy Reingruber.
Those select few Airmen in Air Force service dress blues still had a commanding presence and were the significant minority, she said.
Reingruber said she appreciated the budgetary segments of the governor's speech. "We should be aware of state budget challenges, its cascading effects and how we are impacted," she said.
Because the military has a subordinate relationship to its civilian leadership, the content of the governor's speech was not lost on Reingruber.
"It's important to listen to the strategies of our state leadership, and walk away with a better understanding of the state's objectives," she said. "I think every Airman should have the opportunity to go to these types of events."
"As a citizen airman, it was a privilege and an honor to attend this event," said Lt. Col. Patricia Wilson, medical group commander. "The governor's discussion of budgetary constraints and her plan to promote job growth and funding for education programs in Arizona spoke volumes about her dedication to ensure continued prosperity for all Arizona citizens."
Calvert, along with the other representing Airmen, had the opportunity to meet the governor after the speech, and said that Brewer was especially enthusiastic about female representation of the Air Guard.
But according to Calvert, the personal greeting by the governor was a short-lived, but nevertheless an appreciated one.
"She thanked us for what we do, and then I took two pictures with her," said Calvert. "She's a busy woman."