Taking flight one last time:
Ohio Air National Guard brigadier general retires after three decades of service
Story by Capt. Jordyn Craft, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (10/23/20)
After more than 30 years, Ohio Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Todd Audet has put on his uniform for the last time. Audet recently took to the skies for the final flight of his longtime friend, Brig. Gen. Gary McCue, which Audet called one of the top three moments in his military career.
“It was fitting for me because being with our Airmen executing the mission up in the air, not in front of a crowd giving a speech, is where I am most happy,” said Audet, reflecting on his last day. “I’ve always enjoyed working with our people and doing the mission. It’s how I ended up staying an entire career.”
Audet, a traditional — or part-time — Guard member for most of his career, received his commission from the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science on the day Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. He has served in a wide variety of roles including 200th RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) commander, Ohio Air National Guard director for engineering and facility support (A7) and Ohio Air National Guard chief of staff.
The Toledo, Ohio-area resident deployed numerous times in support of operations New Horizons, Beyond the Horizon, Silver Flag, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and in conjunction with Ohio’s State Partnership Program pairings with Serbia and Hungary. His last assignment was serving as the Ohio deputy assistant adjutant general for Air, a role now held by McCue.
“I’m proud to have served with Brig. Gen. Audet. He is a consummate professional,” McCue said. “He has always put the members of our National Guard first and foremost. I wish him all the best in his retirement and thank him for his dedication to mission and people.”
While his career spanned decades, Audet’s journey to the Air National Guard was not immediate. He was the first person in his family to go to college, but he had to find a way to pay for his education. He considered several different options but decided on the Air National Guard when he learned it would pay 100% of his tuition.
The decision not only helped him earn a degree but also taught him about structure, discipline and leadership. As he rose through the ranks, principles like trust, accountability, endurance, persistence and perseverance guided him along his journey to brigadier general.
“Looking back, it seems that the more I gave to the Guard, the more I got out of it, all the way to the end,” Audet said. “If I had to do it over again, I would not change a thing. You learn about taking calculated risks, how to perpetually improve yourself and not letting perfect be the enemy of done. These have served me beyond my military career into my civilian life as well.”
The best piece of advice Audet ever received was from a fellow Airman and friend, retired Master Sgt. Timothy McCormick, who told him to always be willing to do what others can’t or won’t do. He reflects that this opened doors to a wide assortment of opportunities in all aspects of his life.
Audet leaves advice for the next generation of Airmen, especially those traditional Guard members who may not comprehend the journey they are embarking on or where it might lead them.
“Learn to trust. Trust is the currency of leadership,” Audet said. “You will never be as effective as you could be if you have trouble trusting those you work for and, most importantly, those that work for you.”
As his military retirement begins, Audet is most looking forward to more time with his wife Michelle and their children, who he knows made the largest sacrifices during his career as he missed holidays, family events, birthdays and more while serving his state and nation.
“Brig. Gen. Audet brought unique perspective, unmatched zest and a strong voice for our Airmen,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general. “I can’t thank him enough for his contribution and dedication to our organization. I wish the best for him and his family as he takes a much-deserved retirement.”
From the beginning of his career to the end, Audet took on each new position, challenge and opportunity head-on, with the Air Force core values — integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do — as his compass.