New Jersey Airmen Embrace Airmanship During Virtual Summit

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Matt Hecht
  • New Jersey Air National Guard Public Affairs

Enlisted Airmen with the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 108th Wing, 177th Fighter Wing, and Joint Force Headquarters-Air tuned in for a virtual Enlisted Summit this year hosted by state Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Rakauckas on Sept. 28-29. This year’s theme was Embracing Airmanship.

“As we get back to basics, after a lot of quarantine and teleworking, we’re looking at how to reset and what it means to be an Airman in today’s environment,” said Rakauckas. 

Brig. Gen. Patrick Kennedy, commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard and Deputy Adjutant General-Air made opening remarks, and noted New Jersey’s key pillars: Readiness, Airman Development, and Health of the Force.

“The New Jersey Air National Guard has answered the call at a rate that we have not seen in the past thirty years,” said Kennedy. “Airmen have stepped into the community during this global pandemic and made sure that our communities and our citizens have all the protection and services they need. Our Airmen have done numerous Covid missions, volunteered for election support, reacted to the requests from authorities for civil disturbances, and now we have Guardsmen helping here on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst assisting Afghan refuges. All the while, the force maintained the same level of readiness we always have.”

Other guest speakers included subject matter experts in mental health, various military benefits, diversity, resilience, and Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams.

“Give those Airmen what you needed as an Airman,” said Williams. “We need to provide people with an opportunity to grow. We have to adjust and be leaders and it’s all about attitude. As leaders, NCOs, supervisors, we need to provide motivation and inspiration and that’s how we make the organization grow.”

At the close of the summit, Rakauckas thanked Airmen for tuning in, and offered advice for the future.

“Take what you’ve learned here and apply in your work centers,” said Rakauckas. “Thank you for everything you’ve done over the past year, and for what you continue to do. You’re making New Jersey proud.”