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Service to Country Now More Important Than Ever, General Says

Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc H. Sasseville, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, is probably most remembered for his 9/11 flight in an F-16 to intercept hijacked Flight 93, which was heading toward Washington, D.C. 

However, resistance from passengers aboard Flight 93 eventually thwarted the hijackers' plans, and ultimately, the plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

He's retiring from the Guard this week, capping a career that spans about four decades and includes more than 3,300 flight hours in various aircraft.

A pilot stands beside a jet.
Final Flight
Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc Sasseville, vice chief, National Guard Bureau, prepares to ride in an F-16 Fighting Falcon piloted by Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Gibson, 113th Wing, District of Columbia National Guard, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 15, 2024, marking the final flight of Sasseville's career.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely
VIRIN: 240515-Z-VX744-1494
A pilot gestures from a jet cockpit.
Final Flight
Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc Sasseville, vice chief, National Guard Bureau, gives a thumbs-up signal as he prepares to ride in an F-16 Fighting Falcon piloted by Lt. Col. Todd Gibson, 113th Wing, District of Columbia National Guard, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 15, 2024, marking the final flight of Sasseville's career.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely
VIRIN: 240515-Z-VX744-1198
A pilot stands beside a jet.
Final Flight
Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc Sasseville, vice chief, National Guard Bureau, prepares to ride in an F-16 Fighting Falcon piloted by Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Gibson, 113th Wing, District of Columbia National Guard, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 15, 2024, marking the final flight of Sasseville's career.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely
VIRIN: 240515-Z-VX744-1555

Sasseville said since the nation's 9/11 experience, America needs to be prepared for the next round of challenges and potential attacks. He added that there may already be signs of those challenges when considering the number of cyberattacks, drug flow coming into the United States, threats in space and artificial intelligence.

"I don't want to paint myself as paranoid, but I know that the bad guys are not letting up," he said. 

"It's easy to forget that there are still people out there who are competing with us, don't value our systems like we do, don't value the international order that we think has served us so well," Sasseville said.

A man in military uniform walks down a hall while holding the hand of a woman as people, some in military uniform, clap for them.
Clap-Out Ceremony
Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau Lt. Gen. Marc H. Sasseville receives a traditional clap-out ceremony on his final day at the Pentagon, May 31, 2024.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander Kubitza
VIRIN: 240531-D-PM193-2147

A man in military uniform waves and walks down a hall while holding the hand of a woman as people, some in military uniform, clap for them.
Clap-Out Ceremony
Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau Lt. Gen. Marc H. Sasseville receives a traditional clap-out ceremony on his final day at the Pentagon, May 31, 2024.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander Kubitza
VIRIN: 240531-D-PM193-2149

There's a need for service to nation, whether in uniform or as civilians, he said. "If it's not our youth, then who's going to do it?" 

It's up to us to reach out to today's youth. We can do that by also reaching out to influences like parents, teachers, school counselors, as well as various organizations that attract youth, he said.

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