News: Texas Air Guardsman returns as NGB vice chief, learns Army Guard operations
Story by Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
CAMP MABRY, Texas - The vice chief of the National Guard Bureau toured several Texas Army National Guard facilities during an official visit to the state, Jan. 21-24.
Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, of San Antonio, a member of the Texas Air National Guard, returned to the Lone Star State as the second-in-command at the U.S. National Guard's headquarters, located in Arlington, Va., to learn more about Army National Guard operations.
Lengyel, a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours, mostly in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, began his military career after completing the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), in Denton.
His Texas Air National Guard experience includes previous leadership positions at the 149th Fighter Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland.
His current position, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau, was created in 2012, when the position of Chief, National Guard Bureau, was included as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lengyel said.
"We're going through the process of informing everybody about the new position of vice chief and what it does," Lengyel said. "We're trying to put the lanes in the road on where it is I can best support the chief, in his new role on the JCS."
Lengyel said that he has been empowered to run the day-to-day operations of the National Guard Bureau, on behalf of the chief. This frees up the chief, Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, to work more at the strategic level.
"Part of my portfolio is the process of the administration of all the people and the resources that are in the NGB," Lengyel said. "I'm working closely with the directors of the Army Guard and the Air Guard, to make sure we have a synchronized National Guard Bureau effort."
The three-star general officer said he is adjusting to his new role in the joint-service environment.
"Although we're one National Guard, we have an 'Army Way' and an 'Air Way,'" he said. "It's important that I understand both."
During the four-day visit to Central Texas, Lengyel was briefed on the state's joint domestic operations capabilities and the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division, headquartered here, and its subordinate units. Additionally, he visited two armories, one in Round Rock and another in Taylor, facilities at Camp Swift, in Bastrop, and the Austin-Bergstrom Flight Facility, in Austin.
"We're honored that Lt. Gen. Lengyel came to Texas to review Army Guard operations," said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas. "It's always great to be able to showcase the capabilities and relevance the Texas Military Forces provide to the state and nation."
"There will be ongoing conversations," Nichols said. "I'm proud to have worked with him here in Texas, and look forward to continuing our relationship in his new role."
Throughout his orientations, the vice chief viewed diverse types of Army Guard units, and saw how they can operate in wartime and homeland defense missions.
"It's great to be back in Texas. I'm honored to serve in Washington, but it sure is good to come home," Lengyel said.