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.

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.

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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