Deputy Commander NORAD Region Visits Fresno
By Public Affairs Office, 144th Fighter Wing
/ Published January 31, 2016
FRESNO AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif -- Gen. Alain Pelletier, Deputy Commander Continental NORAD Region, visited the Fresno Air National Guard Base Jan. 22 to speak with Col. Clay Garrison, 144th Fighter Wing commander, and to get a firsthand look at the 144FW's alert mission.
Garrison briefed Pelletier on the wing's history, federal and state missions and the Aerospace Control Alert mission. After the briefing, Pelletier was given a tour of the various base facilities.
"It's one thing to be the Continental NORAD Region Deputy Commander," Pelletier said, "but getting the lay of the land and understanding what challenges each wing and alert facility are facing is of great interest to me."
The 144th is a key player in the defense construct for the United States. Its strategic location and ability to respond to any threat that may arise from the west coast, make the Air National Guard wing an instrumental asset for NORAD.
"We need the ability to actually react to any injects that come from rouge nations or non-state actors that may use civilian aircraft to attack our cities," said Pelletier.
After seeing what the airmen went through to prepare the unit to carry out the alert mission, Pelletier stated that he was pleased with the overall transition the 144th has made.
The 144FW's recent conversion from the F-16 to the F-15 fighter jets and the resumption of the alert mission in the beginning of October was not the only reason for the general's visit.
Two individuals supporting the alert facility had gone above and beyond what was expected of them over the past year. Lt. Col. Dirk Lough, 144FW alert commander, and Master Sgt. Chris Miles, 144FW alert maintenance lead, were recognized for their hard work, dedication and leadership helping the transition to be smooth and seamless.
In Air Force tradition, Brig. Gen. Pelletier presented each of the individuals with his personal command coin during an impromptu ceremony held in the alert facility.
"The actions of these two were noted in the last Air Force Operational Assessment by 1st AF back in October and the NORAD Alert Force Evaluation in November," said Pelletier. "It was my way of saying thank you for stepping up."
The general had a very positive outlook for the future of the 144th and its mission. "This has been one of my longest visits," said Pelletier. "We had great exchanges with the commander and the alert team."
"It was great to show the general our airmen and the work they do on behalf of 1st AF," said Garrison. "He left with a great impression of their skill and dedication to the mission."