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Commander of the 19th Air Force visits Arizona guardsmen

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts
  • 162nd Wing Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. James Hecker, 19th Air Force commander, visited the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Wing located at the Tucson International Airport, March 30-April 1, to witness the premier F-16 fighter pilot training program in action.

During his visit, Hecker met with members of the 162nd Wing, whose mission is to train fighter pilots from around the world.

"It's a team effort," said Hecker. "Whether you are a pilot, maintainer or in the medical group, in order for the Air Force to be as good as it has been in the past we have to stay tactically on the upper edge of the mission."

He also asked each Airman to take care of each other in an effort to combat one of the most urgent problems facing our force, suicide.

"The number of suicides is on the rise," said Hecker. "Our goal is to know our Airmen and ensure we don't lose any Airmen."

He challenged everyone to get to know their Airmen as well as they know their best friend.

"If your best friend walks in that door, how long is it going to take you to know if they are having a good or a bad day? Within a couple of minutes, right," he asked. "That's how well you need to know your Airmen."

Hecker also recognized the new Director of Psychological Health, Sarah Warner.

Warner has been here since January, but is recognized as making a serious impact in the quality of life for individuals she has worked with in her short time here, according to the 162nd Wing Director of Staff, Maj. Blake Cook.

"I am honored and humbly grateful to be recognized," said Warner.  "Unfortunately there are people hurting on this base, but I have made a commitment to do everything in my power to help take care of them."

Hecker wrapped up the all call with a final challenge to each Airman. He asked them to build a story that they can be proud of when someone years from now, asks them about their time at the 162nd Wing.