When Guard units are in a non-mobilized status, they are commanded by the governor of their respective states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Territory of Guam, Territory of the Virgin Islands, and the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard. The governors (except in the District of Columbia) are represented in the chain of command by the Adjutant General of the state or territory.
Today, ensuring the security of America's skies is a mission the Air National Guard shares equally with the active Air Force. During a war or national emergency, the Air National Guard may be called to federal active duty by the President or Congress - as demonstrated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Along with providing airlift and rescue the Alaska Air Guard has specialized support units. Radar and tracking systems specialists, civil engineers, aircraft mechanics, security police, communication systems specialists, cooks, munitions specialists, supply personnel and many others play a vital role in the Alaska Air Guard's federal mission.
OPERATION SANTA CLAUS
For more than 50 years, the men and women of the 176th Wing have helped deliver toys, clothing, books, staple goods and a whole lot of holiday cheer to Alaska's remote and isolated villages around Christmas.
OPERATION JUMP START
Our Civil Engineer Squadron periodically deploys for training. Being engineers, this usually means building things. Most recently they deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to upgrade infrastructure there in support of Operation Jump Start, a federal program to secure the border. Other recent deployments have taken them to Hawaii, Israel and Central America.
WILDERNESS SEARCH AND RESCUE
The members of our 210th, 211th and 212th rescue squadrons have a critical wartime assignment -- rescuing downed pilots, including difficult and dangerous missions in enemy territory. Back here in Alaska they put their rigorous training to good use, plucking stranded hunters, hikers and other outdoorsmen from the state's vast and often unforgiving wilderness.
From Pakistan to Southwest Asia to the U.S. Gulf Coast, when disaster strikes, our men and women are there to distribute food, medicine, blankets and other desperately needed supplies.