MORRIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz -- As communities around the nation adapt to staying close to home, the men and women of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing were introduced to their new commander virtually.
Brig. Gen. Andrew MacDonald relinquished command to Col. Jeffery Butler through a video message to the members of the Guard’s largest F-16 Fighting Falcon and MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft unit during the first ever virtual drill.
During his video address, in front of a photo of the entire wing, MacDonald offered some parting words to the members and new commander.
“As I depart command, I would like to emphasize three things,” said MacDonald. “My overwhelming gratitude and thanks, the off the charts level of pride I have for the accomplishments of the members of this wing and those that support it, and the extreme level of resiliency and strength I see at the 162nd Wing.”
In closing MacDonald highlighted the unit’s ability to serve the state and nation through tough challenges, a strength he says will guide members through the current crisis as a team under Butler’s leadership.
Butler, a United States Air Force Academy graduate, served 10 years with the United States Air Force at various locations around the world. He began his career at the 162nd Wing in 1998. Since then, he has served in several command positions and most recently as the wing’s vice commander.
During his first address to the men and women of the 162nd Wing, he said a virtual introduction was not ideal, but said he is looking forward to meeting with and learning more about each Airmen.
“I owe you care. Care that is authentic and real, and I expect all leaders here to be authentically interested in their Airmen,” he said referencing the needs of unit members in the current environment.
The care is part of his focus on the phrase faith, family and service.
“You will hear me say faith, family and service,” he said. “I will try to establish those priorities for you, to help you find something beyond yourself.”
These values he said, have allowed him to maintain a thriving family with his wife of almost 30 years and six children, while continuing to do what he loves, serve.