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    Bulldog 22 Signs Off: WA Air Guard Leadership Changes Hands, 30-Year Career Celebrated

    Retirement for Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn

    Photo By John Hughel | Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn, outgoing commander of the Washington National Guard address...... read more read more



    Story by Lt. Col. Alyson Teeter 

    Washington Air National Guard

    The Washington Air National Guard leadership torch was passed from one leader to another when Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn relinquished command of the Headquarters Washington Air National Guard to Col. Gent Welsh during a Change of Command ceremony here Jan. 11, 2020.

    Shortly following the Change of Command ceremony, Horn’s more than 30 years of service were honored during a retirement ceremony.

    Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, The Adjutant General, Washington National Guard, officiated the change of command and conveyed his confidence in Welsh to take the stick for the WA ANG. Welsh previously held positions at the squadron and wing level, and was the Washington National Guard’s Chief of Staff. He started out his career enlisted in the active duty Air Force and deployed multiple times to combat zones.

    When Welsh addressed the audience after taking command, he focused on the headquarters’ WA ANG mission and how it compares to Amazon’s.

    “Everything is focused on the customer, from this process to that process, you name it, it’s all focused on the customer,” he said.

    For Welsh focusing on customer service will help the Airmen experience and make service in the WA ANG a worthwhile endeavor.

    “From my perspective, I have an Airmen obsession. My whole job and the job of the headquarters is to absolutely return value to every Airman in this room,” he said. “Our job is to make processes simpler, to make processes faster, and honestly do the best we can every day to improve the experience that you have.”

    After the conclusion of the Change of Command ceremony, Daugherty served as the presiding official for Horn’s retirement ceremony, and began it by asking people to view his retirement as an event to be celebrated.

    “He’s had an incredible adventure. That is something to be celebrated – not mourned – because it is coming to an end,” said Daugherty. “As President Kennedy once said, ‘Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.’”’

    Horn received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy, served in the active duty Air Force, and finally the Washington Air National Guard. Daugherty thanked him for his service to the state and nation.

    “Thank you for your selfless service and for placing the safety of America above your own desires,” Daugherty said. “You have truly left a legacy of unity here and I thank you for that. We are a much better team because of your service.”

    Before Horn addressed the audience, he received a federal and state Legion of Merit, First Oak Leaf Cluster, along with a multitude of gifts from organizations through-out the Washington National Guard and state government.

    When Horn got to the podium for his farewell address, he recounted how when he was a newly commissioned lieutenant, the U.S. was in a conflict in the Middle East and there were tense relations with the Russians.

    “We’ve got some of the same fights but in new domains we didn’t even think about 30 years ago. But really, it’s all part of the circle of life,” he said. “When I came into this we had these issues and as I step out 30 years later we still have these issues. But we have a whole new crop of Airmen and Soldiers with fresh ideas who are going to be able to tackle those as well.”

    After reflecting on his 30 years of service, Horn imparted his top three takeaways to the audience.

    First piece of advice: “Don’t focus on yourself, it aint about you.”

    When Horn was a younger officer, he thought the world revolved around him and didn’t realize how he was serving something much larger than himself, he said. As he progressed in his career and became a leader, he realized his success was the success of his team and the growth of his people.

    “Bloom where you’re planted,” was his second takeaway.

    “I’ve never really had a bad job in my life. I’ve had hard jobs, I’ve had frustrating jobs, I’ve had frightening jobs, stressful jobs,” he said. “But really each opportunity has been a chance to lean in and learn and do the best I possibly could and help out the people around me.”

    Lastly, he asked Airmen to, “Enjoy the ride.”

    “I look at the things we get to do and the status we have within our nation and I think that’s really cool.”

    For instance, during his time as the WA ANG Commander, he watched Soldiers and Airmen working on the fire line come back with grins on their faces, and also watched a joint team in Malaysia work with their counterparts with enthusiasm. During these interactions, he’d zoom out and think, “We’re doing it, it’s so cool.”

    “At every moment possible, take that five seconds to zoom out and appreciate just what a privilege it is to wear this nation’s uniform and also to lead people,” he added.

    Being an airborne forward air controller was one of Horn’s favorite positions. During combat operations, he’d be flying in the A-10 ahead of fighters and finally reach the area of operations, which was chaotic.

    “You’ve got folks on the ground, Airmen and Soldiers, who desperately need what you can provide,” he said. “Their lives are literally hanging in the balance, waiting for you to get there.”

    Horn noted that his call sign during this time was Bulldog 22.

    “I really started developing relationships with folks on the ground because they knew when Bulldog 22 showed up I was going to do whatever I possibly could to get them what they needed out there,” he recalled. “It wasn’t about me, it was about them and them being closest to the fight, so I was there to help.”

    Horn would do all he could to get whatever was attacking them or whatever was an obstacle out of their way. But eventually his part in the mission would come to an end.

    “At a time it was going to be time to start think about heading home…that I was out of gas, out of bullets…it was going to be time to turn over to the next FAC coming in so that he or she could prosecute that fight.”

    Using forward air control concepts as a metaphor and terms such as Bingo (out of gas) and Winchester (out of bullets), Horn’s retirement ceremony came to an end.

    “So Gent, Sluggo, you have troops in contact, and Bulldog 22 is Bingo and Winchester. You have the AO. I’m departing to the north. God speed.”



    Date Taken: 01.12.2020
    Date Posted: 01.12.2020 21:37
    Story ID: 358887

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