Acting Director of Air National Guard visits the 175th Wing

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Benjamin Hughes
  • 175th Wing
The Acting Director of Air National Guard spoke with members of the 175th Wing's Company Grade Officer Council, March 6 during a visit to Warfield Air National Guard Base.

Maj. Gen. Brian Neal, former commander of 135th Airlift Group, Maryland Air National Guard, provided insight about the current and future challenges facing the Air Force and the Air National Guard.

"We are in high demand as a force. Everything we do takes money and manpower," said Neal, who recognized it could be hard to maintain a highly skilled force in the Air National Guard with larger salaries in similar civilian positions. Neal said he hopes that the company grade officers are serving for more than a paycheck.

"If you want to be a leader, then be a leader. We can't survive without you guys," said Neal.

Neal also encouraged the officers to maintain their integrity, stay honest and to remain loyal as they advance their military careers.  He also said it is essential for them to do well in their current position instead always planning for what position may come next.

"It's important for young leaders to know that there's more than one way to achieve your goals without feeling like you have to accomplish certain milestones within their career," said 2nd Lt. Jamie Plakosh, who oversees the motor pool in the175th Logistics Readiness Squadron, after hearing Neal's advice.

Plakosh said it humbling to hear from Neal that "the Maryland Air Guard leads the way with so many programs" like Cyber Operations, flying missions with A-10C and C-130J, and more. 

"I never realized how impactful our unit is, compared the rest of the Air National Guard units," said Plakosh, who also serves as the communications officer in the 175th Wing's Company Grade Officer Council.

Even though the majority of the Maryland Air National Guard is a part-time force, Neal recognized how the CGO members "can do 12 hours of work in eight."

"I am amazed by what you do," said Neal, after describing how the group is the "backbone" of the Wing. "You are the future of the unit and the future of the country."