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ANG Leadership and Congressman view JSTARS in action

Air National Guard (ANG) Lt. Col. Thomas Grabowski, left, 116th Operations Support Squadron commander, briefs Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of Ga., Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, ANG director, and Congressman Austin Scott, on the mission and capabilities of the E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) during an orientation flight aboard the aircraft, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  During the training sortie, JSTARS crew members demonstrated real-world scenarios to show the versatility of the weapon system.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Air National Guard (ANG) Lt. Col. Thomas Grabowski, left, 116th Operations Support Squadron commander, briefs Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of Ga., Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, ANG director, and Congressman Austin Scott, on the mission and capabilities of the E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) during an orientation flight aboard the aircraft, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. During the training sortie, JSTARS crew members demonstrated real-world scenarios to show the versatility of the weapon system. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Ana Whitzel and her daughter are greeted by Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, while waiting for JSTARS crewmember 1st Lt. Daniel Whitzel to depart an aircraft bringing JSTARS deployers home after four months in Southeast Asia, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  Wyatt had just landed from an orientation flight on an E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and was on hand to greet the families and welcome home the deployers.   (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Ana Whitzel and her daughter are greeted by Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, while waiting for JSTARS crewmember 1st Lt. Daniel Whitzel to depart an aircraft bringing JSTARS deployers home after four months in Southeast Asia, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. Wyatt had just landed from an orientation flight on an E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and was on hand to greet the families and welcome home the deployers. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

JSTARS crewmembers are welcomed home by Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard (ANG) director, center, Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of Ga., Maj. Gen. Thomas Moore, Ga. ANG commander, and Brig. Gen. William Welsh, 116th Air Control Wing commander, as they step off a jet after a four-month deployment in Southeast Asia, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  The generals had just finished an orientation flight on the E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and landed in time to greet the deployers.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

JSTARS crewmembers are welcomed home by Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard (ANG) director, center, Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of Ga., Maj. Gen. Thomas Moore, Ga. ANG commander, and Brig. Gen. William Welsh, 116th Air Control Wing commander, as they step off a jet after a four-month deployment in Southeast Asia, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. The generals had just finished an orientation flight on the E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and landed in time to greet the deployers. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bethany Tolley, 461st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, receives a coin for outstanding performance from Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  Tolley looked over the coin as Wyatt explained some unique aspects of the coin in reference to the Air National Guard.   (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bethany Tolley, 461st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, receives a coin for outstanding performance from Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. Tolley looked over the coin as Wyatt explained some unique aspects of the coin in reference to the Air National Guard. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left, Air National Guard (ANG) director, talks with ANG Tech. Sgt. Mike Farrand, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmember, during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system.
(National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left, Air National Guard (ANG) director, talks with ANG Tech. Sgt. Mike Farrand, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmember, during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left,  Air National Guard (ANG) director and Col. David Gross, ANG Executive Officer, observe Maj. Kevin Bess, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmember, working at his battle station during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system.   (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left, Air National Guard (ANG) director and Col. David Gross, ANG Executive Officer, observe Maj. Kevin Bess, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmember, working at his battle station during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left, Air National Guard (ANG) director and Col. David Gross, ANG Executive Officer, observe Maj. Kevin Bess, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmember, working at his battle station during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system.   (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left, Air National Guard (ANG) director and Col. David Gross, ANG Executive Officer, observe Maj. Kevin Bess, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmember, working at his battle station during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left,  Air National Guard (ANG) director and Col. David Gross, ANG Executive Officer, observe E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmembers working at their battle stations during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, left, Air National Guard (ANG) director and Col. David Gross, ANG Executive Officer, observe E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS) crewmembers working at their battle stations during an orientation flight, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. Wyatt went on the flight to learn more about the capabilities of the JSTARS weapon system. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

JSTARS crewmembers are welcomed home by Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, center, as they step off a jet after a four-month deployment in Southeast Asia, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011.  Wyatt had just finished an orientation flight aboard the E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and landed in time to greet the deployers.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

JSTARS crewmembers are welcomed home by Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, center, as they step off a jet after a four-month deployment in Southeast Asia, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Dec. 05, 2011. Wyatt had just finished an orientation flight aboard the E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and landed in time to greet the deployers. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released)

Dec. 5, 2011 -- During an orientation flight Dec. 5, Lt. Gen Harry Wyatt III, Air National Guard (ANG) director, Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of Georgia and Congressman Austin Scott, viewed first-hand the capabilities of the JSTARS platform.

The group observed training scenarios at each battle station as Lt. Col. Thomas Grabowski, 116th Operations Support Squadron commander, briefed on the current capabilities of the weapon system as well as opportunities for future expansion of the platform.

"One of the things the Air Force is trying to do is decide how we move forward with the JSTARS capabilities," said Wyatt. "It seems everywhere you go, whatever conflict there is in the world, the first capability Combatant Commanders ask for is JSTARS."

Scott, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, indicated he wanted to make sure his colleagues in Washington understand how valuable JSTARS is.

"Any of the intelligence and surveillance platforms certainly bring a lot to the fight," said Scott. "That's what gives us a big advantage over our adversaries in battle. JSTARS gives us the capability of doing a lot of things that smaller platforms aren't and we can add some additional equipment to do even more."

While looking at ways to use the aircraft for continuing operations in hotspots around the world, much discussion centered around possibilities for more domestic use of the JSTARS platform as well.

"As Director of the Air National Guard, I'm interested in the capabilities this system brings to homeland defense and help with natural disasters," said Wyatt. "We may be bringing ground troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, but I think the demand for the JSTARS capability is not going to subside, I think if anything it's going to increase."

The flight was capped off with an unexpected, but welcome surprise, when the onboard phone rang with a message that a group of JSTARS Airmen were returning to Robins Air Force Base from a deployment in Southeast Asia. Wyatt and the rest of the Georgia ANG leaders landed in time to greet the returning Airman and their families.