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Chat with Brig. Gen. John S. Tuohy

Washington Air National Guard always ready to serve

John S. Tuohy was promoted to brigadier general May 3. Photo courtesy of Washington Air National Guard

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The Washington Air National Guard is postured for success," stated Brig. Gen. John S. Tuohy.

Tuohy, commander of the Washington Air National Guard (WAANG), was promoted May 3 but he will continue to serve as the assistant adjutant general for the Air Guard. In that role he is a state employee and is responsible to the adjutant general for directing, coordinating and controlling activities of 37 assigned units. In his other role, he serves as the authority for the 2,100 Air National Guard personnel within those units.

"I wear two hats but really it's one job - it just depends on what the issue is whether I am wearing the state employee hat or focusing on the federal missions," he stated.

The general officer was commissioned in 1978 and served on active-duty first before transitioning into the National Guard. Tuohy, who has been at Camp Murray since 1984, has held a variety of positions including chief of staff at the Joint Force Headquarters, Washington National Guard, from 2003 to 2005 and then the U.S. Property & Fiscal officer for Washington from 2008 until last November when he assumed the assistant adjutant general position.

"One of my first goals is to make sure we are always ready and that the training programs are efficient and leading the pack at a national level," he said. "That includes making sure that we are well-resourced, from schools to equipment, so that we are the best we can be."

However, he is aware that not everything is predictable or controllable, especially within the military environment.

"That uncertainty is a day-to-day challenge - the impact of the sequestration and diminishing resources will remain in the forefront. We don't know what the budget is going to look like, what the total force structure should be and if the current operations be sustained," he stated.

No matter the challenges, Tuohy stated that the Air Guard would be ready to respond and fight as a team alongside the Air Force and Air Force Reserve.

"This is a changing environment and so, being an ex-navigator, I coined the term MAP," Tuohy explained. "I like to tell our airmen to follow the MAP and use our core values to stay on the right path."

The acronym stands for Mission, Accountability and People. The mission, which includes both the federal and state and/or domestic missions, is wide reaching but, according to Tuohy, proves exactly why the WAANG is always ready, relevant and 100 percent reliable.

Accountability fits into the big picture because money is tight and Tuohy believes there is a need to be accountable with resources and to the taxpayers, but also to ask if they are doing the right thing for the people they serve.

"Our people are the greatest asset and they are talented beyond measure, bringing such a wealth of experience and a vast amount of knowledge," Tuohy said. "I am often taken aback by how dedicated and professional these citizen airmen are even when in harm's way."

"Looking ahead, I want my legacy to be that I put my fellow airmen first and foremost and make sure we are taking great care of them and their families," shared the commander.

He went on to explain that includes a focus on suicide prevention through an aggressive wingman program to ensure that everyone is OK and that to enforce strong policies on sexual harassment so that it does not happen on his watch.

"I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this organization. I am thankful to serve and humbled by the things I have been able to do," Tuohy concluded.

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