ROLAND R. WRIGHT AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Utah --
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen W. Wilson and his wife, Nancy, met with Utah Air National Guard members and toured the National Ability Center (NAC) in Park City on June 21 as part of a multi-day visit to the state.
The morning began with a presentation on the NAC mission, which focused primarily on the organization’s robust military programs. The NAC provides adaptive recreation opportunities for individuals of all abilities designed to foster self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sports, activities and education. The University of Utah’s National Center for Veterans Studies was also highlighted for its innovative partnership with the NAC which provides a groundbreaking, condensed treatment program for service members and Veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Both the NAC and NCVS fill a valuable, unique niche for military members and their families,” Wilson said. “The healing and hope they foster is evident through the dedicated leadership and staff, tailored equipment and activities, and picturesque mountain backdrop.”
Following a facilities tour, more than a dozen Airmen from units across base, including Brig. Gen. Christine Burckle, Utah Air National Guard Commander, joined Wilson for lunch on site.
“What an incredible opportunity for our outstanding professionals to engage with senior Air Force leadership,” said Burckle. “For those who had never been to the NAC before, it was also an introduction to another wellness resource close to home.”
After lunch, the Wilsons, individuals from the 151st Operations Group, and their spouses were instructed on the adaptive archery course. Archery is a popular and growing Paralympic sport and therapeutic activity. The equipment and instruction can be adapted to the needs of the participant, and members of the group were able to try different mobility variations.
Following the activities, both groups sat down for refreshments and round-table discussions.
“Issues that affect the Air Force as a whole, as well as issues specific to the Guard, including retention and family deployment support, were primary topics,” said Holly Woodman. “Mrs. Wilson showed great concern and understanding for our unique Air Nation Guard needs.”
For the Guardsmen, conversation topics included organizational culture, additional duties, talent retention, and the role Air Force families play in the health of the force.
“We have to work on stability, and we have to make families feel like they belong, so they want to be part of this journey” Wilson said.
He also lauded the work being accomplished by the Utah Air National Guard.
“Thanks for doing a fantastic job,” he said. “You should be proud of what you bring to the fight and your role in shaping the future of the Total Force concept so skillfully employed here in Utah,” he said.
For Lt. Col. Brandon Taylor, 151st Operations Group Commander, the chance to interact with Wilson was equally well received.
“He was easy to talk to and genuinely interested in the conversation,” he said. “It’s great to know that’s the caliber of leadership representing our Airmen at the very top.”