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Director of the Air National Guard visits with Arizona Guardsmen

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, greets 162nd Wing Airmen during a visit to the Arizona Air National Guard base at Tucson International Airport, June 29-30.  The visit is Rice’s first since becoming director. He met with Airmen and recognized outstanding accomplishments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, greets 162nd Wing Airmen during a visit to the Arizona Air National Guard base at Tucson International Airport, June 29-30. The visit is Rice’s first since becoming director. He met with Airmen and recognized outstanding accomplishments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, recognized Senior Master Sgt. Jack Minaya, a first sergeant with the 162nd Wing’s 214th Reconnaissance Group and one of the 2016 outstanding Airmen during a visit to the Arizona Air National Guard base at Tucson International Airport, June 29-30.  The visit is Rice’s first since becoming director. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, recognized Senior Master Sgt. Jack Minaya, a first sergeant with the 162nd Wing’s 214th Reconnaissance Group and one of the 2016 outstanding Airmen during a visit to the Arizona Air National Guard base at Tucson International Airport, June 29-30. The visit is Rice’s first since becoming director. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, greets 162nd Wing Airmen during a visit to the Arizona Air National Guard base at Tucson International Airport, June 29-30.  The visit is Rice’s first since becoming director. He met with Airmen and recognized outstanding accomplishments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, greets 162nd Wing Airmen during a visit to the Arizona Air National Guard base at Tucson International Airport, June 29-30. The visit is Rice’s first since becoming director. He met with Airmen and recognized outstanding accomplishments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Lacey Roberts)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The director of the Air National Guard paid a visit to the 162nd Wing located at the Tucson International Airport, June 29-30, meeting with Airmen and recognizing outstanding accomplishments.

The visit is the first to the wing for Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice since he took on the duties as the director of more than 100,000 Guard members and civilians in the Air National Guard on May 10.

The order of the day was meeting with the men and women of the 162nd Wing to discuss what he said will drive the future of the ANG: people, readiness, and recapitalization and modernization.

"The first priority is people and developing people," Rice said. "The number one thing that I think drives us into the 21st century are faces like this," he said referencing a slide with photos of the 2016 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

Rice then called on Senior Master Sgt. Jack Minaya, a first sergeant with the 162nd Wing's 214th Reconnaissance Group and one of the 2016 outstanding Airmen pictured on the slide.

"We have one of the greatest leaders here as the first sergeant, he motivates not only this wing, this state, but all of us and me personally," said Rice. "I was very impressed when I was looking at the notes and what he accomplished."

Rice went on to discuss the importance of every Airman's contribution to the mission and how the men and women of the wing directly contribute to the readiness of the force through the F-16 pilot training program. 

According to Rice, the readiness of the force needs capable U.S. and partner nation fighter pilots to support the Air Force, nation and the world.

The final priority Rice discussed is the recapitalization and modernization of the force and the important role the maintainers play in keeping the wing's fleet of F-16s flying.

"The F-16 is like any weapons system, it is under stress, but one of the things that helps the Guard is a very high experience base in our maintenance force," he said.

People, readiness, and recapitalization and modernization were the hot topics of the day, but throughout the discussion, Rice kept going back to the number one priority - people.

"When it really comes down to it the people you work with, the people you work for and the people who work for you make the difference," he said.  "A simple act of friendship, camaraderie and taking care of others could save someone's life and I ask you to look out for each other."