Governor Sarah Palin and Lt. Gen. (AK) Craig E. Campbell, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard, met today with General Carroll H. "Howie" Chandler, Commander of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in the Pacific. General Chandler briefed Governor Palin on current events in the USAF, the status of USAF assets in Alaska, possible deployment levels in 2009 for Iraq and Afghanistan, and the value of training in Alaska.What was it that Gov. Palin's critics were saying? Something about governors having no military knowledge, if I recall correctly. Granted, governors have neither the authority nor the command experience to lead troops into battle, but that's not their jobs, and no one ever claimed that it was. But they meet with and receive briefings from both active service and National Guard commanders, and that makes them at least as knowledgeable as many U.S. Senators on military matters, and likely more knowledgeable than some of them. And with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion on active duty in her state, Sarah Palin is probably more knowledgeable about the military than most of her fellow governors. And she has an addition perspective shared by few of her peers - that of a Blue Star Mom.
"It was truly an honor to meet with General Chandler," Governor Palin said. "His distinguished 35-year military career and previous years as commander of the Alaska Command give him the experience necessary to truly understand the strategic value of military assets in Alaska - particularly the benefit of Alaska airspace and facilities for readiness training exercises. I look forward to working with General Chandler in the future."
"General Chandler is a good friend and an Alaskan at heart," Lt. Gen. (AK) Campbell said. "Since his days as commander of the Alaska Command, Gen. Chandler has always looked out for the best interests of the military in our state and he is a tremendous ally for Alaska issues in Washington, D.C." Alaska is home to both Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force Bases, at least 10 different types of aircraft, about 9,000 airmen and about 12,000 family members. Aviation training occurs year-round with "Red Flag" exercises involving international aircrews conducted every three to four months.