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It's Been a "Great Year": CMSgt. Dick Smith, command chief for the Air National Guard, told attendees Sept. 16 at AFA's Air & Space Conference that the Air Guard has “had a great year.” He said the Air Guard has almost completed all BRAC 2005 actions, and it is taking on new missions with unmanned aerial vehicles and in intelligence and space operations. Smith also noted that for the first time in five years, the Guard is now at end strength, with retention at 92 percent. Smith was one of five Command Chiefs participating in a forum moderated by CMSAF Rodney McKinley. Among questions the group fielded was one about whether enlisted personnel will get an opportunity to fly the larger unmanned aerial vehicles. Air Combat Command's CMSgt. Steve Sullens emphasized the difference in flying in a static orbit and in a combat theater, noting, too, that the Air Force would still require an officer to fire UAV missiles. However, McKinley said more changes in the UAV arena could be coming this fall. (Read more From the Chiefs' Forum)