U.S. Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, arrived at the 133rd Airlift Wing for the second time in twelve months with a unique purpose. The Minnesota National Guard had just completed its first ever full activation and Lengyel wanted to issue a personal “Thank You.” Airmen and state employees were called to State Active Duty status due to COVID-19 and civil unrest assignments.
“It was very meaningful to have Gen. Lengyel, our National Guard four-star general, visit the 133rd Airlift Wing,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Winter, Deputy Commander of the 133rd Mission Support Group. “His visit cemented the importance of the role our Airmen played in the civil disturbance response.”
On the morning of May 30, 2020, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the full activation of the Minnesota National Guard to include the 133rd Airlift Wing. The request came after nights of destructive protesting in Minneapolis and St. Paul, in response to the death of George Floyd. The 133rd Airlift Wing, along with other members of the Minnesota National Guard, were assigned to protect life, property and restore order. This included patrols, manning control points, and assisting firefighters in accomplishing their life saving mission by providing security.
During Lengyel’s visit, he made several stops throughout the wing to include the Security Forces Squadron, the Contingency Response Flight, and the Maintenance Group before departing. At each stop, 133rd members were recognized for their response to the State Active Duty assignment.
“It was an honor to represent the 133rd Medical Group and be recognized by Gen. Lengyel,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kyle Sovde. “It certainly was an unforgettable experience and a major highlight in my military career.”
During the State Active Duty assignment, the 133rd Airlift Wing had more than 700 additional Airmen on orders to support the full-time force. The assignments ranged from issuing helmets, vests, and sleeping equipment to providing security at the Cedar Street Armory.
“I could not be more proud of you,” said Lengyel. “Thank you! Thank you for everything you do. You are incredibly important to the United States, the state of Minnesota, the Air National Guard, and the U.S. Air Force.”