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Utah ANG hosts former generals for senior statesmen breakfast

Brig. Gen. David Fountain hosted a morning breakfast briefing for nine retired general officers of the Utah Air National Guard on base January 5. Combined the generals represent hundreds of years of collective command experience. Their experience and insights of the past help the Utah ANG face the challenges of the future. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sgt. Kelly K. Collett)(RELEASED)

Brig. Gen. David Fountain hosted a morning breakfast briefing for nine retired general officers of the Utah Air National Guard on base January 5. Combined the generals represent hundreds of years of collective command experience. Their experience and insights of the past help the Utah ANG face the challenges of the future. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sgt. Kelly K. Collett)(RELEASED)

SALT LAKE CITY -- On Jan. 5, 2012, Brig. Gen. David Fountain hosted a morning breakfast briefing for nine retired general officers of the Utah Air National Guard. The event provided the opportunity for the commanders of the wing and tenant units to brief their current mission taskings, successes and the challenges facing their organizations both today and in the future.

As one of the briefers, it was somewhat intimidating to look out at the general's attentive faces, knowing they represent literally hundreds of years of collective command experience and wisdom. This historic event was the first of its kind which will allow us to incorporate the experiences of these former leaders as we look for creative solutions to the challenges of shrinking budgets, changing missions and the current record high operational tempo.

The generals asked many questions and brought their own insights and experiences to the discussion. Brig. Gen. Fountain gave his perspective on the challenges facing the Utah ANG in the near term and his goals for the future of our state. He brings a wealth of experience from his three-year tour at U. S. Transportation Command and three-year tour as the ANG Advisor to the commander of Air Mobility Command on General Johns' senior staff.

Maj. Gen. John Hafen took a few minutes to point out the common themes that he recognized from his own experiences that we are dealing with today. He listed the advantage of the ANG's experience level, competing interests between active duty and the reserve components, future budget cuts, and the need to keep ahead of the advances in technology, to name a few. Drawing from his extensive strategic planning experience, he further stated that our future plans and proposals must be crafted with integrity and defended in cost savings using sound business case analysis.

The ultimate goal of this collaboration will be to bring to bear every available resource to strategically position the Utah ANG as a viable and relevant force for decades to come. We plan to continue these discussions on a biannual basis. The enthusiastic response of many of these former commanders bodes well for our success as we evolve to face the challenges of the future with the experience and insights of the past.