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September 17, 2009—Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt says he’s fortunate to have attained his current position as director of the Air National Guard. But, to quote a line from the film "Madagascar 2," he said Sept. 14 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference that he got there with “a little spit, a little grit, and a whole lot of duct tape.”

Wyatt’s point was that some of the factors that determined his growth and success were luck and chance and some opportune mentoring. He said he'd like to see young Air Guardsmen have a more structured way to advance that is anchored in education, broad knowledge, and the necessary skill sets.

“We need to make opportunities available to these people,” he said.

These opportunities, he continued, need to be joint in nature and take the Air Guardsmen out of their comfort zones. The ANG’s cohesion can be “inhibitive’ to the type of growth that is necessary to foster the next generation of adaptable, flexible, and well-rounded citizen soldiers to fill future leadership roles, he said.

Wyatt contends there is no reason why an Air Guardsman could not be the Air Force Chief of Staff or even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as long as that person is truly qualified.

For that matter, Wyatt said there is no reason an active duty airman could not be ANG director.

(For more from Wyatt’s AFA appearance, read Wyatt’s F-35 Vision.)