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    Nevada ANG director of operations sets sights for Harvard

    232nd Operations Squadron Change of Command Ceremony

    Photo By Master Sgt. Garrett Wake | Lt. Col. Justin Galli displays a gift presented to him by the members of his previous...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Garrett Wake 

    152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

    Lt. Col. Justin Galli raised his right hand to offer a final salute as the commander of the 232nd Operations Squadron. Although family and friends were not able to attend the in-person ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many viewed virtually. The ceremony capped Galli’s final day as commander of the 232nd. Physical attendance was limited to only a few essential personnel; four of Galli’s enlisted Airmen attended in ceremonial roles to bid their commander farewell.

    While this day marked an end to a chapter of his career, it also marked the beginning of the next as Galli prepares to travel across the country to the Harvard Kennedy School. This year he will represent the National Guard as the sole guardsman to participate in the school’s National Security Fellows Program.

    Looking back

    In 2013, Galli was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Weapons School to stand up a new course, the “Advanced Integrated Warfighter.” Things were looking good for Galli, instructing at the Weapons School presented an opportunity to share his tactical and operational knowledge and experiences at the Air Force’s premiere air, space and cyberspace center of learning.

    However, that opportunity faded when the U.S. government shutdown for 16 days that year resulting in his class being cancelled.

    Luckily for him and the others, the then-commander of the U.S. Air Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base had other plans; instead of returning them to their respective units, he adopted them into the Center’s Advanced Programs office.

    “While there I became involved in all sorts of great whole-of-government exercises: joint, multi-domain, and coalition exercises, and made some great relationships,” Galli said. “I found myself thrown into some novel things -- as a lone guardsman -- and now, here we are, seven years later doing even more novel things.”

    These “novel things” included being asked to transform the 232nd Operations Squadron – a small, remotely-piloted-aircraft unit based out of Creech Air Force Base – into a fighter squadron supporting advanced operational tests through the Nevada Virtual Test and Training Center, or VTTC, for the Air Force.

    “It was one of those great lessons that if you just keep progressing – you’re going to have bumps and disappointments; but if you lean forward, follow your core values, believe in things like the National Defense Strategy, the fellow Airmen around you and the mission, good things will happen,” Galli said.

    Galli retained, recruited and hired new talent for the squadron to support the VTTC which will integrate live-fly missions with simulator training across many platforms including F-22s, F-35s and others. The Nevada Guard affords experienced pilots and maintainers an opportunity to contribute to this effort by offering long-term stability instead of being moved around at regular intervals, as often is the case in the active duty force.

    Moving forward

    Over the next few months Galli will serve as the Director of Operations for the Nevada Air National Guard until it is time for him to leave Nevada – the state where he was born and raised, competed as a collegiate boxer (1998-2002) and earned his degree. He also spent the past year as the Nevada Guard’s liaison in Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office during the state’s COVID-19 response.

    “I am so proud that Lt. Col. Galli will represent the state of Nevada in this prestigious fellowship program,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said last December. “The Nevada National Guard, and Lt. Col. Galli, have played an indispensable role in our state’s COVID-19 response.”

    Galli’s next journey sees him travel east to Boston to attend the National Security Fellow program.

    The 10-month postgraduate research fellowship only offered to military officers at the lieutenant colonel and colonel ranks, along with certain civilian officials from the intelligence community.

    “The Nevada Air Guard is very tactically focused on our missions – employment of the C-130, the Distributed Common Ground System (DSCG) – and we get very good at those tactical things,” Galli said. “This program gives us the opportunity to take all of this tactical and operational experience and bridge it with where that strategy comes from -- with our senior leaders, coalition states, and things of that nature. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to learn and to be in that environment.”

    The course is structured to help prepare its graduates for executive-level service in security and intelligence fields, as well as provide a broad and interdisciplinary network of colleges across military, government and the civilian sector.

    Galli hopes his education at Harvard will lead him to Washington D.C. where he may have the opportunity to continue to learn and contribute, bringing his past tactical and operational experience along with his newly acquired strategic knowledge and fresh ideas to the National Guard Bureau and joint staff.

    And even though he’s set his sights on D.C. he will always be thinking about Nevada.

    “Ultimately, I want to bring my knowledge back here to help develop and mentor the next generation of Airmen and Soldiers that will then do the same thing as me -- so that it becomes contagious, and the Nevada National Guard continues to be the best organization out there,” he said.

    “If you would have told a young Airman 1st Class Galli 20-years ago that he’d be going to Harvard and that the military would be sending him there, well… I would’ve laughed!”



    Date Taken: 02.22.2021
    Date Posted: 02.22.2021 22:47
    Story ID: 389576
    Location: LAS VEGAS, NV, US 
    Hometown: RENO, NV, US

    Web Views: 373
    Downloads: 0