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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NGAUS Notes: Sept. 29, 2006

National Intelligence Estimate Notes Challenges; Guard Does Its Part.
The number of people identifying themselves as "jihadists" is increasing and spreading, but the United States has still made significant progress against terrorists, according to the declassified National Intelligence Estimate.

Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States, released Tuesday, looks at the threats posed by terrorists to the United States and its interests over the next five years.

President Bush released the estimate after stories in the The New York Times and The Washington Post last weekend said that the war in Iraq has increased the terrorism threat to the United States.

But the estimate also noted key moves that could staunch the spread and effect of terrorism - one the Guard completed in June.

The estimate, dated April 2006, says the loss of key leaders such as Osama bin Laden, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi could cause the group to splinter.

Two Air Guard F-16s participated in the raid that killed Zarqawi June 7, after the report was completed.

"You can read it for yourself," the president said Tuesday during a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "We'll stop all the speculation, all the politics about somebody saying something about Iraq, somebody trying to confuse the American people about the nature of this enemy."

The estimate said that the global jihadist movement is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts making the worldwide threats to U.S. interests more diverse.

For the Guard, the estimate could obviously signify at least a sustained and possibly increased role in the fight against terrorism.

First African-American Adjutant General dies at 80.
Retired Col. Gerard Luz A. James Sr., the first African-American National Guard adjutant general, died at his home on St. Croix, V.I., Sept. 17. He was 80.

Colonel James served as the Virgin Islands' adjutant general from 1973 until 1976. He was also credited with the formation of the U.S. Army Reserve in the Virgin Islands in 1952.

Arrangements were already in motion for his ceremonial pinning to brigadier general during the Oct. 14 celebration of the Virgin Islands National Guard's 33rd birthday.

Colonel James scored a number of firsts during his lifetime. He became the first scoutmaster and founder of Boy Scout Troop 151, under the sponsorship of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Christiansted, St. Croix, in 1953. He held that position for eight years.

He was elected the first president of the St. Croix Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1954. The governor conferred the rank of honorary policeman on him during the same year.

He graduated from Howard University School of Law in 1974 and became a member of the Virgin Islands Bar Association. He served as a senator during the 12th Legislature of the Virgin Islands in 1976.

Colonel James is survived by his wife Asta Klyvert James, three sons, a daughter and other family members who served in the U.S. military.

Cheney Praises Guard's Contribution to Global War on Terror.
Vice President Cheney thanked the National Guard for its service to the country at a speech to Guardsmen in Michigan Sept. 25. He also talked about the war on terror and the central fronts of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Cheney emphasized the Guard's importance to missions overseas in places such as Afghanistan, while reiterating the Guard's contributions in the Balkans and elsewhere.

"I want all of you to know that we appreciate the work you do, we respect the sacrifices you make, and we admire your skill and your devotion to duty," the vice president said.

"The assignments have been varied, but the standard of performance has been high and unwavering," he said. "You've put duty ahead of convenience and service above self-interest. It is impossible to overstate how much Americans in uniform have done to make this nation safer, and to bring freedom, stability and peace to a troubled world."

Five years ago, Mr. Cheney said, Afghanistan was saddled with a merciless regime that harbored terrorists and plotted murder for export.

"Today, Afghanistan is a rising nation with a democratically elected government, a market economy, and millions of children going to school for the first time."

Mr. Cheney added that Guardsmen and their active-duty compatriots understand what is at stake in the war on terror.

"That is why they commit acts of random horror, calculated to shock and intimidate the civilized world," he said.

Book Festival to Feature Former Air Guard Director.
Retired Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd, former Air Guard Director and longtime active participant in NGAUS, will participate in a panel discussion and book signing at the National Book Festival on the National Mall tomorrow.

His presentation, which includes a discussion of his book Bury Us Upside Down, will take place at the Library of Congress tent at noon.

The book, released earlier this year, is the history of the 157 "Misty" pilots who flew some of the most harrowing missions in the Vietnam War.

General Shepperd flew 247 combat missions over Vietnam and made it home, but 34 were shot down. Some became prisoners, others died.

Visitors may purchase books at the event.

Those not attending may visit www.buryusupsidedown.com for more information about the book and purchase options.

Information about the festival is available here.

NGAUS History.
In 1943, after Maj. Gen. Edward Martin stepped down, Maj. Gen. Ellard A. Walsh took over as NGAUS president. Having already served as president in the late 1920s, he knew the difficulty of making NGAUS function efficiently, without a headquarters or permanent staff.

So by 1944, he had rented a small apartment in Washington, D.C. This was the first permanent NGAUS headquarters. In 1946, the new constitution adopted at the NGAUS General Conference established an association funded by annual dues.

General Walsh's first challenge was to recruit Guard officers and warrant officers to enroll as NGAUS members.

Week in Guard History.
Sept. 26, 1918: The U.S. Army launches its final and largest offensive of World War I against the German "Hindenburg Line." Eight Guard divisions, plus many non-divisional units and Guardsmen serving in aerial squadrons are involved.

Capt. Harry S. Truman, then part of Missouri's 129th Field Artillery, was assigned to Battery D, commonly known for a lack of discipline and lackluster expertise in marksmanship. Captain Truman got the battery into shape. By the time the 129th entered combat in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Captain Truman was Battery D's commander. He stayed in the Guard into the early 1930s, rising to lieutenant colonel before transferring to the Organized Reserves.

Even after election to the House and Senate, he volunteered for active duty after Pearl Harbor but was refused by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall, who told him he could provide a more valuable service by staying in Congress.

In 1945, he became the 33rd president.
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