U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) joined state and local military and community leaders in welcoming Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice to the 188th Wing on Friday. Lt. Gen. Rice is the Director of the Air National Guard and visited the state at the request of Boozman and Womack.
While at Ebbing Air Force Base in Fort Smith, Rice received a briefing and tour of the new mission and facilities of the 188th Wing. He also saw the capabilities of the Wing in demonstrations involving the MC-12 and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. After the visit he attended a luncheon hosted by the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce to visit with local business leaders. At the luncheon, Arkansas Adjutant General Mark Berry thanked Boozman and Womack for their support of the Arkansas Guard. He also praised the leadership of Lt. Gen. Rice and 188th Wing Commander, Col. Bobbi Doorenbos for her outstanding work transitioning the 188th to its new mission.
During his three-day visit to Arkansas, Rice attended the graduation of the first class at the Air National Guard Cyber Skills Validation Course at Little Rock Air Force Base. He also received a briefing on the 189th Airlift Wing Mission, traveled on a C-130H to view select ranges and facilities, and attended a luncheon with the Little Rock Community Council.
Rice also conducted an Airmen’s Call at the 189th Airlift Wing where he met with approximately 450 Arkansas Guard members. The conversation centered on the vision for the 21st Century Guard Airman and the skills, training and culture necessary to meet the needs of the future military.
Lt. General L. Scott Rice: “Two things stand out in our visit here. First, the units here in Arkansas clearly show why they are amongst the best. Highly specialized, highly trained professional forces is what we have here in the state. Second, the overwhelming support the communities show for their Air Guard is unmatched.”
U.S. Senator John Boozman: “I am grateful that General Rice spent time in Arkansas to truly understand the great work being accomplished by our men and women in the Arkansas Air National Guard. At the 188th today, he had the opportunity to see the dedication of a unit with strong traditions and a future-focused mission. It is always impressive to see the work being done at Ebbing Air Force Base. I am proud of the highly trained Airmen of the 188th and 189th who are dedicated to their duties for the National Guard, Arkansas and our nation.”
U.S. Representative Steve Womack: “General Rice has been incredibly gracious with his time in the Natural State, and I believe that is a testament to not only the close relationship he has built with Senator Boozman and me, but also proof that the 188th is a next-generation mission that will be vital to the Air Guard and the Air Force in the years to come. I am thrilled General Rice could see this mission firsthand and am extremely grateful for his leadership.”
Col. Bobbi Doorenbos, Commander of 188th Wing: “The 188th Wing is so fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible community, and to be supported by an extraordinary Congressional Delegation. It's always a pleasure to host them at the wing, and it was a particular honor today to also welcome Lt Gen Rice, the Director of the Air National Guard. Today we had the opportunity to not only brag on how far we've come in our mission conversion, but also to say thank you to all of our guests who have so steadfastly supported our efforts.”
Tim Allen, President & CEO of Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce: “The Fort Smith Chamber appreciates Senator John Boozman and Congressman Steve Womack’s commitment to our community. Both the Senator and Congressman continue to demonstrate an unwavering level of support for economic development within our region, especially when it comes to our military. It’s great to have Lieutenant General Rice in Fort Smith today to see firsthand the important role Fort Smith plays in defending the U.S.”
Congressman Steve Womack has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011 and serves on the House Appropriations Defense, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Labor-Health and Human Services subcommittees and the House Committee on the Budget.