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Saturday, October 14, 2006

NGAUS Notes: Oct. 13, 2006

Rep. Ike Skelton Receives Association's Highest Honor

Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, received the Harry S. Truman award during a luncheon in his honor Tuesday, for his legislative efforts and advocacy for the Guard on Capitol Hill.

The luncheon was held at The National Guard Memorial.

"Our values, our principles and our determination to succeed as a free and democratic society are directly attributable to our people and to our leaders," said Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, NGAUS chairman of the board, during the ceremony. "Congressman Skelton is one of those leaders who has distinguished himself by his daily passion for ensuring the defense of our nation."

Maj. Gen. King Sidwell, Missouri adjutant general, nominated the congressman for the association's top honor.

General Sidwell cited Mr. Skelton's longstanding commitment to improve military pay, health care and quality of life for all service personnel. He also lauded the congressman's stand against Army and Air Force attempts to reduce Army and Air Guard personnel and equipment.

The 15-term congressman also was recognized for his pivotal role in the development of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986.

Fortunate to have met the 33rd president on several occasions - his father was a close friend - Mr. Skelton noted President Truman's love for history and its importance.

"I have urged the military through the years, [through] book lists and other manners, to become historians," he said. "If you understand strategy, if you understand operational art, if you understand tactics, you're going to do well, because chances are [others] have been there before in these types of conflicts."

Golfers Brave Bad Weather at NGEF Tournament

Heavy rain didn't dampen the spirits of die-hard golfers at the 8th
Annual National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF) Golf Tournament on
Oct. 6.

Tom Tucker, Harold A. Grossnickle, retired Col. Bill Burks and retired
Col. Mac Fairchild placed first, winning the Dick Alexander Trophy.

The event allows Guard supporters to help raise proceeds for the NGEF
and the National Guard Youth Foundation.

The tournament would not be possible without sponsor support:
    Alenia North America; Allison Transmission; AM General Corporation; Applied Industrial Technologies; Armor Holdings Aerospace & Defense; Awards of Excellence; The Boeing Company; J.B. Bott; Tom Brady; Carleton Life Support; Comtech Mobile Datacom Corporation; The Conaway Group LLC; Donohoe Real Estate Services; DRS Technologies Inc.; retired Brig. Gen. Robert and Mrs. Barbara Dutko; Dynamics Research Corporation; Environmental Engineering & Construction Inc.; Geppetto Catering; retired Brig. Gen. Richard Green; Lt. Col. Wayne Hunt and Mrs. Liz Hunt; ING Direct; retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Koper; Maj. Gen. Roger Lempke; Lewis O. King & Associates; Lingenfelter Four; Lockheed Martin; MACE Enterprises LLC; Military Personnel Services Corporation; MMI-Federal Marketing Service Corporation; NGAUS IT; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Oshkosh Corporation; Phoenix Park Hotel & Dubliner Pub; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation; The Arnold Group; The MINDS Group; The SPECTRUM Group; Tom Tucker Consulting; TriWest Healthcare Alliance; and W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.

Guard Recruiting Surpassed Most Expectations in FY 2006

The National Guard recruited 19,000 more citizen-soldiers and Airmen in 2006 than it did last year and exceeded its retention goals by record numbers.

Both the Air and Army Guard attained 98.9 percent of their combined authorized strength of 456,800.

"The National Guard continues to demonstrate its ability to recruit and retain a quality force despite the demands of simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as unprecedented missions at home such as support for border security and response to natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires," said Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, Guard Bureau chief.

When General Blum became chief in April 2003, the force had fallen 20 percent below its goals.

The Army Guard experienced a net growth of 13,111 soldiers during 2006, and it surpassed its 34,875 reenlistment goal of 34,875 by more than 6,200.

Both the Army and Air Guard also exceeded their attrition rate goals of 18 percent.

The Air Guard lost just under 11 percent of its force, and the Army Guard's attrition was 17.6 percent.

Officials credited increased bonuses, robust recruiting efforts and marketing campaigns for the upturn.

For example, non-prior service bonuses increased from $10,000 to $20,000 and prior service bonuses jumped from $5,000 to $15,000 in the Army Guard. Retention bonuses also increased from $5,000 to $15,000.

The Army Guard also trained an additional 2,400 noncommissioned officers for its recruiting and retention force from August 2004 to August 2006.

Jump Start Spots Now Available for Air Guardsmen

The National Guard Bureau recently announced that Air Guardsmen can deploy to support the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol as part of Operation Jump Start along the Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas borders.

Information on short- and long-term tours is available through Air Guard units' logistics and readiness offices.

Approximately 6,000 Guard members support the Southwest border operation. To date, the Guard has helped U.S. Customs and the Border Patrol apprehend more than 13,000 aliens, seize nearly 200 vehicles and more than 42,000 pounds of drugs. The Guard, however, is not involved in any direct law enforcement activities, such as apprehensions.

The mission includes logistical and administrative support, operating detection systems, providing mobile communications, augmenting intelligence analysis efforts, building and installing security infrastructure and providing education and training. Airmen should check with their unit's logistics and readiness office for specific assignments. Not all Air Force specialties are involved in the operation, but most Airmen can deploy in some supportive role.

NGAUS History

As keynote speaker for the 98th NGAUS General Conference in Washington, D.C., in 1976, President Ford reaffirmed his pledge to upgrade Guard equipment and manpower.
Since we are giving the Army National Guard and Air National Guard greater responsibility, we have to give you the best training and best combat ready equipment as well," Mr. Ford said. "We can never again afford to treat our National Guard as the poor relatives of our regular forces. Hand-me-down weapons are not enough for the Guard."

He also said Total Force is vital to military preparedness.

This Week in Guard istory

October 10, 1968: At fire support base "Thunder II" in Vietnam, New Hampshire's Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 197th Artillery, one of eight Army Guard units to serve in Vietnam, fired the battalion's first mission. During the course of its tour, the 3-197th would support the 1st Infantry, 1st Cavalry, 101st Airborne, and Army of the Republic of Vietnam divisions as well as the 35th Special Forces Group. Six of its Guard members would be killed in action during the unit's one-year tour. According to author Michael Doubler in I Am the Guard, 2,729 Army Guard soldiers from the eight units went to Vietnam, but an additional 4,000 soldiers deployed as replacements by the war's end. Originally, President Johnson was reluctant to send Guardsmen to Vietnam and instead wanted to rely on active-component troops and draftees. In 1966 and 1967, Mr. Doubler writes, the Defense Department pressed hard to get Guardsmen into the fight, but the White House resisted. But in early 1968, the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive, which American forces eventually turned back. But this surprise convinced the White House that reserve forces were needed.
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