Legislative leaders visit Otis Air National Guard Base

  • Published
  • By Capt. Evan C. Lagasse
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
A group of federal and state legislative leaders and representatives received a mission overview and an up-close look at some of the latest technology used by Massachusetts Air National Guardsmen here, March 16.

U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Bourne, and representatives of Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown, Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray and several local state representatives were among the attendees who received opening remarks from Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard, followed by a briefing from Col. Anthony Schiavi, 102nd Intelligence Wing commander, and a tour of today's Massachusetts Air Guard equipment.

"The 102nd Intelligence Wing represents the new [Air Force] mission, using high tech equipment to conduct 24/7 intelligence missions supporting commanders and ground troops around the world," said Carter.

While the visit comes on the heels of a March 6 Air Force-wide manning reduction proposal which includes a plan to cut approximately 170 jobs at Otis as of fiscal year 2013, one of the topics discussed was the Guard's ability to accomplish its assigned missions in a financially responsible manner.

"There is no greater example of the military providing national security in a more financially responsible way than the National Guard," said Carter. "We are your National Guard. We are a community based organization and every day the 102nd is serving the Commonwealth and ensuring the safety of our servicemembers overseas while remaining prepared to respond to any natural disaster."

The men and women of the 102nd Intelligence Wing have responded to multiple natural disasters over the past four years and have deployed approximately 2,000 Airmen, throughout the continental United States and overseas, in support of contingency operations.

"We are more operational than Reserve," said Schiavi.

While the 102nd's high-tech missions of today are not as publicly visible, or audible, as they were prior to April 2008 when it was a fighter wing, the base continues to teem with activity.

"Otis Air National Guard Base is alive and well and we have a bright future. We are in a growth business: ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)," said Schiavi.

The Air Force's recent proposed manpower reduction announcement has heightened awareness of the 102nd Intelligence Wing's economic impact on surrounding towns.

"According to a 2009 Massachusetts Military Reservation study, the ANG located at Otis has a total direct annual economic impact of 1,135 on-site jobs. These jobs support an additional 704 indirect jobs with a total payroll of $59 million. The direct wages and salaries of ANG employees generate $45.6 million in annual consumer expenditures in the region. This is much needed revenue for an area that struggles to maintain the level of economic activity during the winter off-season as it experiences in the summer," wrote Rep. William Keating in a March 15 letter to senior Air Force officials.

A Keating aide said the representative would continue to follow up on the issue of proposed manpower reductions at the base.