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Air Guard commander promotes to general officer, pinned with stars

Air Guard commander promotes to general officer, pinned with stars

Story by PFC Grace Nechanicky on 09/19/2019

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska Alaska Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Scott Howard was promoted at a ceremony Sept. 18 in the National Guard armory on JBER, after holding the rank of colonel for three years.

Howard is commander of the Alaska Air National Guard and assistant adjutant general-Air for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Originally from a small town east of Columbus, Ohio, his desire for new and different experiences provoked him to join the Air Force.

“I wanted to do more, do something bigger than myself,” he said. “I wanted to change in life.”

Initially, he joined out of a sense of patriotism, he said. He also hoped to use his military benefits to pay for college, but the military atmosphere felt like home to him.

“I fell in love with the lifestyle, the organization, what I represent, the core values, and the character of individuals in the military,” he said. “Four years turned into just over 28 now.”

After joining the Air Force, Howard spent seven years enlisted as an air surveillance technician. His first tour was at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, followed by a tour at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base, Germany. At this point, Howard had earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and was working on his Master of Aeronautical Science. He was prompted by officers within his unit to commission, and went directly to Officer Training School after his tour in Germany.

After commissioning as a second lieutenant, Howard was assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, before he was sent to the 611th Air Control Squadron in Alaska. He was in the 611th for approximately two years when he decided to transfer to the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing. Howard saw it as an opportunity to maintain the military lifestyle and continue serving without spending excessive time away from his family.

“It was really family that drove me to that decision,” said Howard. “I missed a lot of time with my kids and my family.”

Howard estimates that while he was active duty Air Force, he spent about 290 days away from home per year.

Following his time in the 176th Wing, he spent nearly two years at Eielson Air Force Base with the 168th Wing. In July of 2016, he was selected to become the Alaska Air National Guard director of staff, until February of 2019, when he was promoted to commander of the organization.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for officers that mentored me along the way,” said Howard. “That was the key throughout my entire career.”

As the ATAG, Howard is determined to learn and adapt to his new tasks and duties.

“I have state employees that I’m responsible for now and that system’s obviously a little bit different,” he said, “I want to make sure I can take care of and represent those employees as effectively as I do military service members.”

Howard says he is extremely proud to be an Alaskan and to be the commander of the Alaska Air National Guard.

“It’s not my leadership or anyone else’s, but it’s really the people,” he says in regards to what makes him proud to serve as the ATAG. “They make it happen and that makes a difference.”

“It’s very humbling to be here and I’m thankful that Brig. Gen. Saxe and the governor have selected me for this position,” said Howard.

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