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Friday, December 29, 2006

NGAUS Notes: 12/29/2006

President Ford Remembered Nationwide This Weekend.
President Gerald Ford’s three-stage state funeral begins today with the former president’s remains lying in repose at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif. He will then be honored in the nation’s capital and finally in his home state of Michigan, where he will be buried Jan. 3.

Mr. Ford died Tuesday at his Rancho Mirage, Ca., home. He was 93.

The Michigan National Guard will provide logistics, security and public affairs support in Michigan.

The former president’s casket will arrive tomorrow at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

A motorcade will travel through Alexandria, Va., where Mr. Ford resided while serving as a congressman and vice president. After a pause at the World War II Memorial—he served in the Navy during the war—the motorcade will proceed to the U.S. Capitol, where the former president will lie in state.

His coffin will be draped in a U.S. flag, with the blue field over his left shoulder. The custom began in the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when a flag was used to cover the dead as they were taken from the battlefield on a caisson.

Graveside military honors in Michigan will include the firing of three volleys each by seven service members.

An “order of arms” protocol determines the number of guns to be used in a salute.

A president, ex-president or foreign head of state is saluted with 21 guns. A vice president, prime minister, secretary of defense or secretary of the Army receives a 19-gun salute.

Flag officers receive salutes of 11 to 17 guns, depending on their rank. The rounds are fired one at a time.

A U.S. presidential death also involves other ceremonial gun salutes and military traditions.

On the day after the death of the president, a former president or president- elect — unless this day falls on a Sunday or holiday, in which case the honor will rendered the following day — the commanders of Army installations with the necessary personnel and material traditionally order that one gun be fired every half hour, beginning at reveille and ending at retreat.

Troop Support Program Enjoys Second Big Year.
Americans from all walks of life played a role in the exceptional second-year growth of America Supports You.

This Defense Department program was created in 2004 and showcases support for the armed forces by the American people who communicate that support to military service members and their families.

In 2006 alone, more than 6 million care packages were sent to troops serving overseas.

Through the program, community groups also raised nearly $3.5 million for support to troops.

In addition, America Supports You spearheaded the creation of a national tradition to observe the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon, New York City and Shanksville, Pa.

A cornerstone of that remembrance was the America Supports You Freedom Walks in all 50 states and the District of Columbia—nearly 140 walks in all—that honored those who lost lives in the 9/11 attacks.

“This past year has been an amazing journey, and we’ve seen the extraordinary and growing capacity Americans have to take care of each other by continuously asking, ‘How can we help?’” said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense and architect of the America Supports You program.

“Our community groups have done phenomenal work for our soldiers and their families, and have shown that Americans have an unparalleled desire to give back to those who so bravely defend our freedoms,” she added.

Nearly 250 of the program’s community groups have worked tirelessly to show appreciation for those who wear the uniform. For more information, contact America Supports You.

Radio Show Helps Military Spouses Cope With Deployments.
Star Henderson and Tara Crooks have teamed up to help other military wives through their Internet talk radio show, Army Wife Talk Radio.com.

“We want to pass that experience along to other Army wives,” said Ms. Henderson, 32, whose husband, David, is a captain in the Georgia Army National Guard. The Hendersons have a 10-yearold son and 2-year-old daughter.

Army Wife Talk Radio.com covers a variety of topics, such as how to solve family challenges when a spouse is deployed and navigate the military’s health care system.

Ms. Henderson launched Army Wife Talk Radio.com a year and a half ago, and Ms. Crooks got involved about seven months ago when she began writing for the show’s newsletter.

The program has developed a core following of fans, said Ms. Crooks, 31, a veteran with 10 years of military experience. Her husband, Kevin, is an Army captain assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga. The Crooks have a 5-year-old daughter.

“It became like a community thing, where I’ve got loyal listeners that are probably following my life, wondering what the heck is going to happen in the Crooks’ household today,” she said. “And, then I’ve got people calling in and sharing their stories."

There are so many services available to help military families, Ms. Crooks said there’s no cohesive program to promote them to family members. That’s where the radio show can really help.

A recorded show is available each Monday, but they hope to be able to broadcast live in the near future.

Legislative Department Seeks Air Programs Lobbyist.
NGAUS seeks an individual experienced in legislative affairs to be responsible for lobbying Air National Guard issues on Capitol Hill, while pursuing member resolutions of the NGAUS legislative agenda.

Duties will include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, coalition development and administrative duties relevant to the Air Programs issue area.

Successful candidate will have 3 to 5 years legislative/political experience and strong knowledge of the defense community, a bachelor’s degree, preferably in political science or government affairs.

Strong advocacy and communication skills are a must, and military experience is a plus.

Send cover letter and resume to:

National Guard Association of the United States
Legislative Director
One Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Applicants may also apply for the position via e-mail. Send resume to: Richard Green.

This Week in Guard History.
Dec. 29, 1968: Fire Support Base “Betty,” Vietnam—New Hampshire’s Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 197th Artillery is selected to take part in a unique experiment.

Three of its 155mm howitzers are combined into a battery along with three 105mm howitzers from the 2nd Battalion, 13th Artillery—a regular Army unit.

Designated as Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 13th Artillery, the “Jungle Battery” was airlifted by helicopter to numerous undeveloped areas where the howitzers could quickly come into play, often with devastating effect.

They were frequently called upon to support Special Forces teams operating deep in the jungles far from road access.

The experiment proved so successful that Battery B retained this mission until it returned home in August 1969.

NGAUS History.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1971 Col. James B. Deerin, NGAUS executive vice president, cited the increasing importance of the National Guard in the context of Total Force planning and said the draft must be continued if the active component, Guard and Reserve are to maintain authorized strength levels.

Colonel Deerin said he did not feel sufficient inducements would be made available to attract enough individuals to enlist or reenlist in the Guard and Reserve.

However, he said adjutants general and other Guard leaders in the states were intent upon doing everythingpossible to recruit Guardsmen in a zero or near-zero draft environment.

Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department. Comments and questions should be directed to ngaus@ngaus.org. NGAUS members can sign up for electronic delivery of NGAUS NOTES at NGAUS.org.

Friday, December 22, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 12/22/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?

New Defense Secretary Sworn In
On Monday morning, Robert Gates was officially sworn in as the new Secretary of Defense, replacing Donald Rumsfeld who announced his resignation one day after democrats won control of Congress in the midterm elections. Secretary Gates hit the ground running by making an unscheduled visit to Iraq on Dec. 19, and is sure to be facing Congressional committees in the near future.

Read AGAUS President’s Testimony.
Major General Roger Lempke, Adjutants General Association of the United States (AGAUS) president was unable to testify at Commission on the National Guard and Reserves hearings last week. MG Francis Vavala, AGAUS vice president and the adjutant general of Delaware, testified on behalf of Maj. Gen. Lempke and presented his written statement which clearly supported proposals included in House and Senate bills to empower the National Guard. To read Maj. Gen. Lempke’s complete statement and the statements from MG R. Martin Umbarger and MG Raymond F. Rees visit the NGAUS homepage and click on CNGR found on the right hand side. (www.ngaus.org)

Managine War Contractors.
An investigative report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the unparalleled number of defense contractors currently in Iraq and Afghanistan was released on Dec. 19.

According to the report, more than 60,000 contractors have supported the Army in the Southwest Asia region, which includes Iraq. This is more than six times the number of contractors that supported the military during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. After reviewing the GAO’s findings, the Pentagon has agreed to implement a database of contractors and appoint a senior-level office dedicated to improving contractor management.

Wrapping Up Work.
When lawmakers adjourned on December 9th only two of the eleven FY07 appropriations bills were cleared. While it has become common for spending bills to not be complete on time, this will be the first time in nearly twenty years that Congress will use a stop-gap measure, known as a continuing resolution, to finance most of the government’s activities for the entire fiscal year. The last time all spending bills were completed by the start of the new fiscal year was 1996. Democratic appropriators decided to enact a continuing resolution because it will be the most expeditious way to wrap up the unfinished work from the 109th Congress.

This stop-gap spending measure will not include any earmarks for FY07. The incoming Appropriations Chairmen, Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc. and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. vowed to place a standstill on earmarks “until a reformed process is put in place.”

The White House had not received prior notice of this spending plan. In an Immediate Release statement from OMB, Director Rob Portman expressed interest in completing each spending bill separately rather than passing a year long continuing resolution. While both parties are in disagreement over how the spending lag should be pursued, the administration will “work with the agencies and Congress to ensure there are no major disruptions to essential government services.”

What’s Happening At NGAUS?
Task Force on Mental Health

The DoD Task Force on Mental Health is a congressionally mandated Federal Advisory Committee which has been directed to make an assessment of and recommendations on the mental health services provided by the Department of Defense to members of the Armed Forces and their families. The Task Force met on Dec. 20 to listen to statements from the public including a large number of organizations. Emily Breitbach of the NGAUS legislative staff attended the meeting. There are currently two resolutions passed at the 128th NGAUS General Conference relating to mental health issues; Joint emergency resolutions A-ER-4 and A-ER- 8.

What Can You Do?
Learn Some Key Congressional Terms

Authorization Act- Authorizes a program specifies it general aims, and generally sets a ceiling on the monies that can be used to finance it.

Appropriation Act- Grants the actual money to be spent, usually after the adoption of an authorization act.

Supplemental Appropriation Act- Legislation that adds money to an appropriation act previously passed by Congress.

Direct Spending- Budget Authority provided in an authorization; or entitlement authority (including mandatory spending contained in appropriation acts).

Discretionary Spending- Spending for programs whose funding levels are determined through the appropriations process.

Entitlements- Programs that make payments to any person, business, or unit of government that seeks the payments and meets the criteria of law. Congress controls these programs indirectly by defining eligibility and setting the benefit or payment rules.

Correction from Dec. 15 LEGIT.
MG Umbarger, MG Vavala, and MG Rees provided expert testimony and made recommendations that would ensure the best future for the National Guard and the nation’s security at the Commission of the National Guard and Reserves hearing last week.

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:
Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Emily Breitbach, Legislative Analyst

For more information on NGAUS, check out our website: NGAUS.org.

NGAUS Notes: 12/22/2006

Robert M. Gates Sworn In as New Defense Secretary.
Robert M. Gates was sworn in as the nation’s 22nd secretary of defense in a ceremony at the Pentagon Monday.

After President Bush introduced Mr. Gates as “an experienced and thoughtful leader,” Vice President Richard B. Cheney administered the oath of office.

He was officially sworn in at the White House earlier Monday in a private event.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with the people in this department—dedicated professionals whose overriding priority is the defense of our nation,” Mr. Gates said upon taking the oath at the Pentagon.

The Defense Department is carrying on many different activities, all of which are important, but the most pressing concern is the situation in Iraq, he said.

Since being confirmed by the Senate, Gates has participated in National Security Council meetings on Iraq, received a number of Pentagon briefings, and discussed the situation and way forward in Iraq with the president.

Everyone wants to find a way to bring America’s troops home, Mr. Gates said, but the United States cannot afford to fail in the Middle East.

“ Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come,” he said.

Two days after the ceremony, Mr. Gates went to Iraq with Gen. Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, to meet with troops, generals and Iraqi leaders to assess the situation on the ground.

The new defense secretary is no stranger to Iraq and U.S. commanders there. He spoke with many of them as a member of the bipartisian Iraq Study Group, which reported to the president and Congress earlier this month.

One option for dealing with the violence in Iraq is to “surge” more U.S. troops into the region. Mr. Gates indicated the idea has merit, but he’ll make make no recommendations to the president until after his trip.

Departing Iraq today, he said he was very impressed with the U.S. troops he met. He offered them a holiday saulte.

“As we enter this holiday weekend, I’d simply like to express my admiration to the men and women in uniform and to their families,” he said.

Air Guard Leaders Explore Ways to Reset Force.
The challenges of resetting the Air National Guard became more apparent when senior leaders nationwide gathered in Baltimore Dec. 11 to 13 for their annual conference.

More than 1,000 leaders from all 50 states and U.S. territories, including adjutants general, wing and unit commanders, command chief master sergeants and others, listened to a detailed explanation of the Air Guard’s future force.

Resetting the force includes reorganizing missions, manpower, equipment and training to meet the needs of the 21st century.

For the first time, leaders were told of the proposed reset of the Air Guard on a national perspective.

Every state and territory will be affected by the reset, said Lt. Gen.
Craig R. McKinley, Air Guard director.

He provided several examples of how airmen are already resetting the force, including flying MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. He also expressed his confidence in the leadership's ability to move forward.

The plan addresses the combined effects of the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC), Total Force Initiatives and the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).

Future mission changes will affect fulltime and traditional positions across the nation, a main concern of the leadership at the conference.

“This has not been an easy process. Because of what BRAC and QDR have done, we need to get through it,” General McKinley said.

Most senior leaders agreed the reset is essential to the future of the Air Guard. And the timeliness, General McKinley said, was mostly due to the desire to move to the next step.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Honors Guard Before Leaving Pentagon.
During his final week as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld recognized Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief, with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal for the “amazing response of the National Guard” following Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Rumsfeld also recognized and thanked 31 other military and civilian Pentagon workers Dec. 13 for their contributions during his six years as defense secretary.

“In recognizing the folks here, please know that we are honored that they were part of a team,” he said. “We honor each of you.”

Defense officials credited General Blum with coordinating the Guard’s unprecedented domestic response to a natural disaster. In all, Guardsmen from all 54 states and territories responded after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast Aug. 29, 2005.

Officials noted that the mobilization occurred while more than 80,000 Guardsmen were deployed to combat zones.

“[General Blum] picked them up and moved them out: 50,000 Guard members,” Mr. Rumsfeld. “It was a spectacular job.”

General Blum accepted the award on behalf of “460,000 soldiers and airmen of the National Guard in the 50 states, two territories, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and District of Columbia that made our response to Hurricane Katrina possible.”

“I was never more proud of being the chief of the National Guard Bureau than at that time,” he added. “It was our finest hour.”

Legislative Department Seeks Air Programs Lobbyist.
NGAUS seeks an individual experienced in legislative affairs to be responsible for lobbying Air National Guard issues on Capitol Hill, while pursuing member resolutions of the NGAUS legislative agenda. Duties will include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, coalition development and administrative duties relevant to the Air Programs issue area.

Successful candidate will have 3 to 5 years legislative/political experience and strong knowledge of the defense community, a bachelor’s degree, preferably in political science or government affairs.

Strong advocacy and communication skills are a must, and military experience is a plus.

Send cover letter and resume to:
    National Guard Association of the United States
    Legislative Director
    One Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20001
Applicants may also apply for the position via e-mail. Send resume to:
Richard Green.

This Week in Guard History.
Dec. 20, 1777—General George Washington selects Valley Forge, Pa., for his army’s winter quarters.

For a time, it appears Washington ’s army wouldn’t make to spring. At least 2,000 of the 12,000-man force die from disease and cold.

Slowly, however, supplies of food and clothing improve. Morale increases on word of an alliance between America and France. It grows further when General Baron Friedrich von Steuben arrives and puts more emphasis on training and discipline.

Most of Washington’s men come from militia backgrounds with little formal military training. But by late spring, they are capable of fighting the British on an even basis.

NGAUS History.
NGAUS and the first National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C., played a big part in the 100th anniversary of Harry S. Truman ’s birth in 1984.

Within four days of the anniversary, May 8, 1884, association officials celebrated the 25th anniversary of Mr. Truman ’s dedication of the original memorial (the current building occupies the same location) in 1959.

NGAUS combined the two events with a reception, birthday party and Truman library exhibit at the memorial.

The Truman library material arrived at NGAUS in March. The items selected highlighted Truman ’s military career, which began in the Missouri National Guard.

The display in the Heritage Gallery was open through mid-September when the artifacts were returned to the Truman Library in Independence, Mo.

NGAUS participation in the Truman Centennial was in cooperation with the Truman Centennial Committee.

Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department. Comments and
questions should be directed to ngaus@ngaus.org. NGAUS members can sign
up for electronic delivery of NGAUS Notes at NGAUS.org

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hero sacrifices himself saving fellow Soldiers

"He gave his life to save his crew and his platoon sergeant, he's a hero. He's a professional. He was just an awesome guy."

Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis packed only 136 pounds into his 6-foot frame, but few have ever matched his inner strength.

McGinnis sacrificed himself in an act of supreme bravery on Dec. 4, belying his status as the youngest Soldier in Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

The 19-year-old amateur mechanic from Knox, Pa., who enjoyed poker and loud music, likely saved the lives of four Soldiers riding with him on a mission in Baghdad.

McGinnis was manning the gunner's hatch when an insurgent tossed a grenade from above. It flew past McGinnis and down through the hatch before lodging near the radio.

His platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Cedric Thomas of Longview, Texas, recalled what happened next.

"Pfc. McGinnis yelled 'Grenade…It's in the truck,'" Thomas said. "I looked out of the corner of my eye as I was crouching down and I saw him pin it down."

McGinnis did so even though he could have escaped.

"He had time to jump out of the truck," Thomas said. "He chose not to."

Thomas remembered McGinnis talking about how he would respond in such a situation. McGinnis said then he didn’t know how he would act, but when the time came, he delivered.

"He gave his life to save his crew and his platoon sergeant," Thomas said. "He's a hero. He's a professional. He was just an awesome guy."

Three of the Soldiers with McGinnis who were wounded that day have returned to duty, while a fourth is recovering in Germany .

For saving the lives of his friends and giving up his own in the process, McGinnis earned the Silver Star, posthumously. His unit paid their final respects in a somber ceremony here Dec. 11.

McGinnis was born June 14, 1987, and joined the Army right after graduating high school in 2005. He had been in the Army 18 months and made his mark even before his heroic deed.

"He was a good kid," said C Company’s senior enlisted Soldier, 1st Sgt. Kenneth J. Hendrix. "He had just gotten approved for a waiver to be promoted to specialist."

He also appeared on the Nov. 30 cover of Stars & Stripes, manning his turret.

Besides his military accomplishments, McGinnis leaves his friends and family with memories of a fun-loving, loyal man.

Private First Class Brennan Beck, a 1-26 infantryman from Lodi, Calif., said McGinnis made others feel better.

"He would go into a room and when he left, everyone was laughing," Beck said. "He did impersonations of others in the company. He was quick-witted, just hilarious. He loved making people laugh. He was a comedian through and through."

While having a witty side, McGinnis took his job seriously.

"He was not a garrison Soldier. He hated it back in garrison," Beck said. "He loved it here in Iraq. He loved being a gunner. It was a thrill, he loved everything about it. He was one our best Soldiers. He did a great job."

Beck has memories of talking all night with McGinnis about where they wanted their lives to go, and said McGinnis always remembered his friends.

"When I had my appendix removed, he was the only one who visited me in the hospital," Beck said. "That meant a lot."

Another 1-26 infantryman, Private First ClassMichael Blair of Klamath Falls, Ore., recalled that McGinnis helped him when he arrived at Ledward Barracks in Schweinfurt, Germany.

"When I first came to the unit…he was there and took me in and showed me around," Blair said. "He was real easy to talk to. You could tell him anything. He was a funny guy. He was always making somebody laugh."

McGinnis' final heroic act came as no surprise to Blair.

"He was that kind of person," Blair said. "He would rather take it himself than have his buddies go down."

The brigade’s senior noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Maj. William Johnson, also had high praise for McGinnis.

"Anytime when you get a Soldier to do something like that - to give his life to protect his fellow Soldiers - that's what heroes are made of," Johnson said.

It also demonstrates, Johnson continued, that the 'MySpace Generation' has what it takes to carry on the Army's proud traditions.

"Some think Soldiers who come in today are all about themselves," Johnson said. "I see it differently."

The Silver Star has already been approved for McGinnis’ actions Dec.4, and will be awarded posthumously.

Friday, December 15, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 12/15/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?

CNGR Hearings.
The Commission on the National Guard and Reserve conducted hearings this week on Wednesday and Thursday. Speaking on the Third panel of witnesses were Major General R. Martin Umbarger, The Adjutant General of Indiana and Chairman of the Board of NGAUS, Major General Frank Vavala, The Adjutant General of Delaware, and Major General Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General of Oregon. This final panel spoke on behalf of the National Guard and offered its perspective on the empowerment of the National Guard. The Commission asked many questions relating to needed changes in law and policies affecting the National Guard's role and status. MG Umbarger, MG Vavala, and MG Umbarger provided expert testimony and made recommendations that would ensure the best future for the National Guard and the nation’s security.

National Guard on NPR.
On Tuesday, November 12th NPR featured a newscast on Talk of the Nation that focused on the future of the National Guard. Guests on the segment included:

Brigadier General Stewart Rodeheaver, Deputy Commanding General, First Army, Fort Gillem Georgia; Recently commanded the 48th Brigade Combat Team of the Georgia Army National Guard.

Major General Michael Davidson, Former Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee

Senator Saxby Chambliss, Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee

To hear the Senators response to the questions raised visit: NPR.

Democratic Committee Appointees.
Incoming House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, recently announced Democratic committee assignments. On the influential Appropriations Committee are three new Democrats and seven returning members. The three new democrats include Barbara Lee, Adam B. Schiff, and Michael Honda all Representatives from the state of California. The returning members on the committee include Representatives Tom Udall of New Mexico, Betty McCollum of Minnesota, C.A. Dutch Ruppersburger of Maryland, Tim Ryan of Ohio, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, and Ciro D. Rodriguez of Texas.

Representative Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and also chairs the Progressive Caucus, the most liberal group in the House. It is likely that Lee will attempt to pare the defense budget, and possibly the Iraq war funding.

Ban on Disrupting Military Funerals.
S 4042, a bill that prohibits disruptions of funerals of members or former members of the Armed Forces, cleared Congress on December 9. The bill, sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin, makes it a criminal misdemeanor to intentionally make a noise or diversion at a funeral or within 150 feet of such a service punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail. The measure was in response to protests at funerals by members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Westboro members believe that U.S. troops are being killed in Iraq as divine retribution for the U.S.’s tolerance of homosexuality.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

Representative Bordallo Receives Award from Guam’s National Guard.
Members of the National Guard of Guam visited NGAUS headquarters today and presented Representative Madeline Bordallo with the Charles Dick Medal of Merit. This award was established in 1988 and is designed to recognize the contributions to the National Guard by elected representatives to legislative bodies at the state and national levels. It is named in honor of Major General Charles Dick, president of the National Guard Association of the United States from 1902 to 1909, a major general in the Ohio National Guard, a Congressman and later a Senator. Following the Award presentation, Richard Green gave the group a Legislative update on the objectives and priorities for FY 2008.

The NGAUS staff enjoyed meeting with all of the Guam National Guard members, Representative Bordallo and her staff members and look forward to the many more states that will be taking a trip to Washington in the near future.

Happy Holidays From NGAUS!!

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:

Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Emily Breitbach, Legislative Analyst

For more information on NGAUS, check out our website: NGAUS.

NGAUS Notes: 12/15/2006

NGAUS TAGs Meet Guard Commission on Empowerment.
As the clock tics down on the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves' March 1 deadline to offer an opinion on the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006, three Guard leaders made the case for empowerment in front of the commission yesterday.

The act would, among other things, elevate the National Guard Bureau chief to a four-star position, give the chief a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ensure the deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command was a Guardsman.

"Logic suggests that the National Guard has a perspective that merits senior leadership participation in more than an ordinary way," said Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, NGAUS chairman and Indiana adjutant general. "The leadership of the Guard does not seek confrontation or espouse disloyalty. They want a professional, collegial relationship with their parent services and the Department of Defense."

Joining General Umbarger were Maj. Gen. Francis D. Vavala, Delaware adjutant general and vice president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, and Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Oregon adjutant general.

"In my view, that piece of legislation is what is needed to reform National Guard relationships and resourcing so that it can fully provide the American [people] with the quality of security they deserve," added General Rees in his prepared statement.

Commissioners then followed with more than two hours of questions.

"If the Congress agreed to authorize one [four-star Guard officer] would you rather have it as the chief of the Guard bureau or commander, U.S. Northern Command?" asked commissioner Stanton Thompson.

All three Guard representatives insisted the four-star level rank should be the chief if forced to choose between the two.

Many of the topics also flowed into homeland security requirements, funding and the Guard's position within a joint environment, particularly under Title 32, when the Guard is federally funded but under state control.

A question of such requirements became paramount in the discussion.

"If you can help us with any ideas to clearly define how that requirements process on an interagency basis could occur and how that funding could be requested and flow, I think it would much improve your position," said commissioner Patricia Lewis.

The lines of questioning followed a morning hearing with Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, Michael Wynn, Air Force secretary, and Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff.

In the hearing, the three outlined their opposition to the legislation.

While actually focusing on callup frequency for Guardsmen rather than empowerment legislation, General Schoomaker said the Global War on Terror must be fought with the active, Guard and Reserve components working together, and suggested that such empowerment legislation would hinder that.

"In my view, our nation should continue to grow the Army and fully use the reserve components as an integral part of the Total Force," General Schoomaker said in his prepared statement. "These proposals would introduce unnecessary complexity and confuse lines of authority, thereby detracting from the unit of effort that we strive to achieve."

He spent most of his testimony calling for a change in Pentagon policy that would make all Guardsmen and Reservists available for involuntary mobilization beyond the 24-month cumulative limit.

Complete testimony is available at NGAUS.

DIMHRS Pay System Will Answer Joint Challenges in Early 2008.
A new pay system in 2008 will integrate pay and personnel and make life easier for Army and Air Force service members, including the National Guard.

The Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS) will integrate the two services' pay and personnel systems into one Web-based system.

The active, Guard and reserve components of the Army and Air Force will all be included in the system, according to Maj. Gen. Carolos Pair, the general in charge of the system's deployment.

DIMHRS will be Web-based, accessible from anywhere with an access card, and will be a one-stop shop for service members with pay and personnel issues, General Pair said. Service members will be able to view their entire record, and even make certain changes themselves.

Army and Air Force commands also will have access to the system to resolve any issues the troops can't handle themselves he said. This will be especially helpful in today's joint environment, where troops from different services fight alongside each other.

"It's conceivable today that if you're an airman in an Army task force, you might have to get in a Humvee and travel 30 or 40 kilometers to find a personnel service unit to support you," General Pair said. "Under DIMHRS, that won't happen."

The Army will launch DIMHRS in March 2008, followed by the Air Force in the summer.

DIMHRS will include a requirement that service members can go to any military installation and get their pay or personnel issues resolved, General Pair said.

Legislative Dept. Seeks Air Programs Lobbyist.

The National Guard Association seeks an individual experienced in legislative affairs to be responsible for lobbying Air National Guard issues on Capitol Hill, while pursuing member resolutions of the NGAUS legislative agenda. Duties will include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, coalition development and administrative duties relevant to the Air Programs issue area.

Successful candidate will have 3 to 5 years legislative/political experience and strong knowledge of the defense community, a bachelor's degree, preferably in political science or government affairs.

Strong advocacy and communication skills are a must, and military experience is a plus.

Send cover letter and resume to:
National Guard Association of the United States
Legislative Director
One Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Applicants may also apply for the position via e-mail. Send resume to: Richard Green.

This Week in Guard History.
Dec. 14,1799: Mount Vernon, Va. - President George Washington dies at his home of pneumonia at the age of 67. Few realize, however, that Washington got his start in the Virginia militia.

Appointed as a major in 1754, he made a name for himself during the French and Indian War. He resigned his commission as colonel of the Virginia regiment in 1761 - the highest-ranking man in the 13 colonies.

As tensions grew with England, he sponsored the organization of the Fairfax County Minute(man) Company. In 1775, the Continental Congress appointed Washington to command the newly organized Army.

His success in the Revolution led to his two terms as president.

NGAUS History.
During the 1930s, NGAUS insisted upon more "slots" for Guardsmen in all levels of the Army schools, such as the Field Artillery School at Fort Still; Infantry, at Fort Benning; Command and General Staff; and the War College. The association constantly fought for additional service and training assignments.

As one officer enthusiastically argued, "Let's not fight them; let's join 'em."

Rapport between the professional and volunteer soldiers was generally good throughout this period, notwithstanding minor friction areas. When the Army said "no," there was usually a price tag explanation.

The Great Depression led to a reduced stream of tax dollars to all government agencies, and limited funds were available to the military. Thus, the association found itself in the role of a military lobbyist for funds not only for itself but for the regular Army. Chiefs of staff and War Department secretaries more than once appealed to NGAUS for help.

Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department. Comments and questions should be directed to ngaus@ngaus.org. NGAUS members can sign up for electronic delivery of NGAUS Notes at NGAUS.

Friday, December 08, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 12/8/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?

$3 Billion For Veterans’ Benefits?
Efforts to kill a Military Construction-VA appropriations bill were abandoned in Congress this week. Earlier plans to make up for this abandonment by adding an additional $3 billion for veterans’ benefits to a stopgap spending bill, also known as a continuing resolution (CR), is not likely to happen. Although increased funding for veterans’ healthcare will probably be included in the final conferenced MilCon-VA ppropriations bill. The current resolution will expire at midnight tonight. The House is expected to vote on the new stopgap measure today which leaves the Senate with little time to clear this bill and send it over to the White House.

Gates Hearing.
Robert M. Gates was confirmed by the Senate to replace current Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the new Secretary of Defense on Dec. 7. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky cast the only two opposing votes.

CNGR Hearing Scheduled.
The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves will be focusing on proposals that would strengthen and elevate the role of the National Guard at a Capitol Hill hearing scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14. Provisions from two bills introduced in the 109th Congress will be assessed, including:

Increasing responsibilities of the NGB in the Department of Defense.
Make the Chief of the NGB a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Expand the role of the Chief of NGB.
Increase the rank of the Chief of the NGB to four stars.
Give NGB more influence in the Pentagon’s budget process.
Create a separate budget for National Guard training and equipment.
Elevate the role of NGB in response to domestic crises.

The hearings will be held in Room 2212 Rayburn House Office Building. More information on this hearing and the Commission can be found on their website at CNGR.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?
Industry Day Held.

The 9th annual NGAUS Industry Day was held on Dec. 6. Attendees received briefings from Richard Green, Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley, Director Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Terry Scherling, Joint Staff, NGB, Brig. Gen. James Nuttall, Deputy Director Army National Guard, and various other key NGB staff. Also attending was Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., who spoke on equipping issues. Industry Day 2006 had a great turnout and a wonderful event to close the day. The dedication of the new OIF/OEF Exhibit in the National Guard museum took place after the final presentation.

“Industry Day is the cornerstone of building a stronger partnership between the NGAUS, the National Guard and Industry to enhance the modernization and readiness of the Army and Air National Guard.”

Leg Objectives Book Is Out.
The Annual NGAUS Legislative Objectives books arrived late last week and were distributed to over 200 Industry Day participants. The booklet includes information from the resolutions that were passed at the 128th NGAUS General Conference and a descriptive graph on the resolutions Cycle. In the booklet you will find a listing of what our 45,000 members believe are vital to accomplishing their dual state and federal missions. This booklet is essential to the NGAUS mission in order to “Transform Resolutions into Reality”.

What Can You Do?
Educate Yourself!

In order to understand why NGAUS works on a strict Resolutions Cycle it is important to understand the Congressional Budget-making process and know the appropriations timeline. Below is a brief time table to show you what is happening in Congress in regards to the Budget throughout they year. You will notice from the timeline that the budget cycle is not a 12 month process but an 18 month process that continues to cycle year after year no matter what circumstances may arise.

February - Congressional Budget Committees hold hearings. Congressional Appropriation Committees hold hearings.
March 15 - Authorizing Committees to submit their budget reports to the Budget Committee.
March/April - House and Senate Budget Committees to report out their
Concurrent Budget Reports.
By April 15 - Congress should have passed the Budget Resolution.
May-Appropriation Committees make their 302 (b) allocations to the
May 15 - House can begin passing Appropriation Bills even if there is not a Budget Resolution.
By June 30 - House should adopt all of its Appropriations Bills.
July/September -Senate scheduled to pass Appropriation Bills.
September - House and Senate Pass Appropriations Conference Reports.
President signs Appropriations Bills (Should be 13 in total).
October 1 - New Fiscal Year begins

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:
Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Emily Breitbach, Legislative Analyst

For more information on NGAUS, check out our website: NGAUS.

NGAUS Notes: 12/8/2006

OEF/OIF Museum Exhibit Opens at Guard Memorial.
The National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF) dedicated its new exhibit honoring Guardsmen serving in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) at a ceremony at The National Guard Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

"This will help the national leaders, members of the National Guard family and the members of the society we call the United States ... to remind them of what the men and women of the National Guard have done, are doing and continue to do to secure the safety and the peace of the United States," said Jason Hall, NGEF director.

The new exhibit features images of the Guard in action since 9/11, including a touch-screen display that helps tell the Guard story.

At the ceremony, Mr. Hall introduced five OEF/OIF veterans, three of whom donated artifacts to the exhibit.

"Somewhere in this country, probably as we speak, a man or a woman is raising their right hand, taking an oath that will make then part of something they may only know as simply 'the Guard,'" Mr. Hall said. "As long as we continue to have men and women such as these we will always have a safe and secure 54 states and territories."

Items donated by Guardsmen from each combat theater include a Battle Dress Uniform and flight suit worn in Iraq and a flight tunic from Afghanistan.

The exhibit was a yearlong project for NGEF and NGAUS.

After board approval last summer, nearly 100 donors raised more than $58,000 to put the exhibit in motion.

The National Guard Memorial Mu-seum is the only national museum dedicated to the National Guard. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

For more information, please visit NGEF.

National Guard to Celebrate 370th Birthday.
What is a few years younger than the Mayflower Compact (1620); a lot older than the Declaration of Independence (1776) and U.S. Constitution (1787); predates the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps by 139 years; and is 311 years older than the Air Force?

Answer: The National Guard.

Known originally as the militia, the National Guard turns 370 Dec. 13.

It all started in 1636 when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which functioned as the colony's legislature, ordered existing militia companies from the towns surrounding Boston to form into three regiments: North, South and East.

While other English colonies, such as Virginia and Spanish colonies like Florida and Puerto Rico, had individual towns with militia companies before 1636, Massachusetts was the first place in the New World where the population was large enough to justify organizing companies into regiments for command and control.

Although their names have been changed and individual companies have come and gone, the three regiments still exist in the Massachusetts Guard.

In retrospect, a string of 20-year career enlistments divides the Guard's life span into more than 18 generations.

The differences between generation one and 18 are countless.

Yet, even as the National Guard has transformed many times, it remains in line with its first role as the citizens' Army. In addition, the Air Guard has served as the citizens' Air Force for the last three generations.

Now, a force of more than 450,000 men and women serve voluntarily and can be deployed anywhere in the world.

Corporate Representatives Get Inside Information at Industry Day.
About 225 attendees representing 111 companies and associations heard top National Guard and association officials explain how to do business with the Guard at the 9th Annual NGAUS Industry Day at The National Guard Memorial Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. James Nuttall, Army Guard deputy director, told NGAUS Notes after his presentation that the best help the Guard can get from industry partners is when they know what the Guard needs.

"Regardless of whatever piece of equipment it is, it doesn't really matter," he said. "Come to us and say, 'This is a validated requirement, it's a war fighting requirement,' and check with us and ensure that ... if you're going to help us in any manner at all, ensure that the funding is sufficient."

He suggested looking at the Guard's top 25 list to find pathways to the Guard's biggest needs.

In the near future, he stressed the need to focus on Army aviation.

He also said the up-armored Humvee, tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles are top priorities, due to today's focus on combat brigades.

"We just don't have enough of those," he said.

Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley, Air Guard director, emphasized the need to ensure the Air Guard has what it needs, even with the ever-shrinking size of the force.

"For an Industry Day, we need to categorize the environment that we're living in both the fiscal environment and the environment we see in the world," he said after his presentation. "[Industry] can help us in ways that we need, but we can't find that venue back at the Pentagon."

Communications Dept. Seeks Seasoned Staff Writer
The National Guard Association has an immediate opening for an experienced staff writer. Selected candidate will contribute to National Guard, the association's monthly magazine, NGAUS Notes and the NGAUS Web site.

Duties include writing short news stories and covering a variety of hearings on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

For the magazine, the successful candidate will contribute at least one substantial feature story each month and assist in editing and producing the final product. Some travel is required.

Candidates must have five years of reporting experience. Familiarity with the military and the National Guard is preferred.

Interest in writing about military/legislative topics a must. Car required. Salary: low- to mid-40s. Excellent benefits include health and dental coverage and a 401k plan. Convenient Capitol Hill location.

Please send cover letter, resume and three writing samples to:
    Communications Department
    National Guard Association
    One Massachusetts Ave., NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001
    Fax: 202-682-9358.
    E-mail: Chris Prawdzik.
Please enter "Application" in the subject line if sending e-mail.

This Week in Guard History.
Dec. 8, 1941: Oahu, Hawaii - In the early morning hours, Cpl. David M. Akui, a member of the 298th Infantry of the Hawaii National Guard, captures the first Japanese prisoner of war in World War II. Corporal Akui spots the man coming out of the water and orders him to halt.

The stranger was quickly taken into custody and turned out to be Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, the commander of one of the five two-man "midget" Japanese submarines that were supposed to be used in the Pearl Harbor attacks. Corporal Akui, became an instant hero and served throughout the war. His was a member of the famed Merrill's Marauders fighting the Japanese in Burma.

NGAUS History.
The National Guard Memorial Library opened in 1991, upon completion of The National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The library currently has more than 4,000 military related cataloged books, National Guard archives, historical artifacts, photographs, documents and other materials. It is staffed and operated by the National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF).

The library's mission is to promote public awareness of the National Guard by providing information about the history and traditions of the Guard and serve as an information and research center for NGAUS members and staff, the Guard community and the public.

The library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except holidays. Catalog listings and an online Guard history are available on the NGEF Web site at NGEF.org.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

An Interview with a Soldier by a Blogger

This is an interview given to blogger Frank Warner by Cpt. Coulson, arranged by CENTCOM. You should really go visit this site, because he is a proud liberal. A very patriotic one, as far as I can tell! Yes, we may differ on home politics, but he is truly FOR our troops.

The only reason I have copied the whole article is because it would be a shame to lose it in case he moved on to bigger and better things. I would really appreciate it if you would leave your comments and thoughts for him with him. After all, he did all the work. :)

U.S. Army Capt. Eric Coulson is commander of A Company, 321 Engineer Battalion, based in Ar Ramadi, al-Anbar Province, Iraq.

Today he took part in an e-mail interview, which Central Command helped to arrange, with me. Among his observations: Iraq can keep its democracy if we are patient. And the food is great in Falluja.

Capt. Coulson, who also has his own blog, Badgers Forward, answered a lot of questions, and I thank him for his thoughts:
    FW: The Department of Defense tells me you’re commanding A Company, 321 Engineer Battalion, and your blog says you are a lawyer in the Army Reserve, 38 years old. Is that correct? Of the 111 people in Company A, how many are men, how many women?

    Capt. Coulson: I am an attorney and was in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri prior to deployment. I am married, I have two dogs and a cat. I am one of those crazy people who consider them my kids. Yes we have 111 people here including detachments; that includes two women.

    FW: Your blog reports that one of your platoons found a roadside IED near Ramadi on Sunday (Dec. 3), and detonated it safely there. Were you there when that happened?

    Capt. Coulson: Yes, I was with my 2nd Platoon when we found both IED’s on Sunday.

    FW: When did you arrive in Iraq?

    Capt. Coulson: I arrived in Iraq on 1 October. I left home in January to work with the unit in Boise, Idaho prior to deployment. The unit officially mobilized in July, but spent two months at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin training for deployment. We also were in Kuwait for several weeks prior to arriving in Iraq.

    FW: What sets an engineer battalion apart from other Army battalions? Do you patrol a lot? Do you build things? Is it your principal job to hunt IEDs? Or is that just a necessary part of your duties? How often does your company find IEDs?

    Capt. Coulson: I’m not sure how to answer the first question. My Soldiers for the most part have an Engineer MOS as opposed to being Infantry, Armor or some other job. My Soldiers patrol almost daily. We are a Sapper unit, Combat Engineers -- we leave building to the construction folks. Our job it to hunt IED’s. IED finds seem to come in spurts.

    FW: You sound fairly confident you can avoid most IEDs. Is it so easy? Don’t give away secrets, but aren’t some IEDs just too hard to detect? They could be buried, or hidden under something else.

    Capt. Coulson: I am confident that we can detect most IED’s; no it is not easy - but we are well trained and highly motivated. Occasionally the enemy gets one by us, but even then we review things tell tale indicators become obvious. Yes they can be buried and hidden under something. That does not defeat detection.

    FW: How were your recent three days in Falluja?

    Capt. Coulson: Great. I like Falluja. Food is better than here in Ramadi and they have postcards to send to my wife and dogs.

    FW: Has your company suffered casualties during your tour in Iraq?

    Capt. Coulson: Yes.

    FW: How often does your company come in contact with the enemy? Describe one of your more dangerous days in Iraq. What was your closest call?

    Capt. Coulson: The enemy is always watching so technically speaking, we are in contact when we roll out the gate. The day we found the two IED’s you read about was my most dangerous day in Iraq. The mission was poorly thought out. The IED that blew up while we were interrogating it was my personal closest call.

    FW: Can you say anything about your reaction or your fellow soldiers’ reactions to President Bush’s suddenly accepting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation on Nov. 8? Were many happy about it? Or is there a stronger sense that a good wartime leader has been cast aside?

    Capt. Coulson: I don’t feel it is appropriate for me to answer this question at this time.

    FW: Is the Iraq army’s lack of training and confidence a big problem? What signs of progress have you seen in the training of the Iraq army?

    Capt. Coulson: I have no basis to answer this question.

    FW: What is the most heroic thing you’ve seen Iraqi soldiers do since you’ve been in Iraq?

    Capt. Coulson: Go out on patrol with out the Personal Protective Equipment we have.

    FW: From your blog, I got the feeling you have no doubts about your mission in Iraq. Do most of the American soldiers you’ve met there share your sense of the mission? Do many have doubts about the need to build a stable democracy in Iraq, or about the chances of success?

    Capt. Coulson: I think there are as many opinions as there are Soldiers. Some are here to do their duty merely as Soldiers, others have a deep belief in the mission. I have no doubts about the need to build a democracy in Iraq, and have no doubt we can be successful given the time and patience to do so.

    FW: You’re in al-Anbar, which we know to be dangerous territory. How can you tell when you’ve made friends with the Iraqis there?

    Capt. Coulson: I have not had enough interaction with the locals to honestly answer this question.

    FW: Which is the most dangerous city in al-Anbar? Why?

    Capt. Coulson: IMO Ar Ramadi is still the most dangerous city in al-Anbar. The government structures are weak and AQ has been very successful in their Murder and intimidation campaigns.

    FW: Is al-Qaida influence or presence noticeable there? Or is the insurgency based primarily on common criminal elements, or tensions between former Baathists and the newly empowered Shiite majority?

    Capt. Coulson: AQ is the biggest insurgent threat here, aided by ex Baathists and common criminals. There is virtually no Shia presence here.

    FW: Is blogger Bill Roggio, of the Fourth Rail, in Iraq with you right now? If so, what do you plan to show him? How long will he be there? Why wasn’t he embedded in your unit?

    Capt. Coulson: Bill is in Falluja, we should hook up in a day or so. I am not sure what we will do as we could not get permision for him to embed with us. I hope we talk about writing, the military, and what I am going to do when I leave Iraq. I think Bill is here till Christmas. Some people think our mission is too sensitive to have reporters involved with. Of course Bill embedded with our predecessor unit last year, but such is the military decision making process.

    FW: Had you been deployed to combat before? If so, when?

    Capt. Coulson: No.

    FW: How did you get into the Army Reserve? Where did you get your Army training?

    Capt. Coulson: I came back into the Army Reserve in 2004 after being in the IRR [Individual Ready Reserve] through law school. I have recived army training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. That is just the formal schools. I have been to another dozen Army posts for training as a unit.

    FW: What’s the weather like there today? Does the weather vary much? How do you keep cool in that heavily armored gear? Drinking lots of water? Cool packs? Air conditioned suits?

    Capt. Coulson: Pretty cold. It was below 40F this AM; it will peak at about 65 today, but as soon as the sun sets I will be back in my black fleece jacket. When it was hot in Kuwait we drank a great deal of water and our vehicles are equipped with a/c.

    FW: What’s the most beautiful thing you've seen in Iraq so far? What's the most horrible thing?

    Capt. Coulson: The sunsets are gorgeous. Watching an IP [Iraqi policeman] die was pretty horrible.

    FW: Can the Iraqis and the Americans communicate a sense of humor to each other?

    Capt. Coulson: I have not had enough interaction with Iraqis to comment.

    FW: Badger 6 appears to be your nickname. What does that mean?

    Capt. Coulson: All units have call signs. A Company is Badger. The Company long ago adopted that nickname because the Orchard Training Area in Boise, Idaho is lousy with them. 6 is the traditional designator of a Commander. The six element refers to the unit commander. Hence the occasional reference to my wife as Household 6.

    FW: Is your blog Badgers Forward censored before you post your observations?

    Capt. Coulson: No -- not so far. I have registered it with my Battalion S6 and have had no comment from higher command. I self-censor for operational security and Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures, but I try to get out an honest view of what the situation is like here.

    FW: Finally, my blog tries to make the liberal case for liberating Iraq: that transforming a nation from tyranny to democracy is in the best liberal spirit of defending the defenseless and freeing the oppressed. Do you see any incompatibility between liberalism and what the U.S. armed forces are trying to accomplish in Iraq?

    Capt. Coulson: Liberalism as currently understood by much of the mainstream political community is incompatible with the objectives of the US in Iraq and the military option in general. But one must understand that “Liberalism” today as embodied by the baby boom generation that came of age in the 1960’s during the Vietnam war has nothing to do with classical liberalism as one might recognize from an earlier time.

    One will note that the “anti-war” protests of the Vietnam War ended as soon as the draft did. One has not seen protests on that scale this time because there is no draft. It’s not about the correctness of the endeavor, it’s about being personally convienent to the person.

    I closed down a law practice in St. Louis to come do this. I do not have a job to go back to. I know others that have done similar things, but not one has been what I consider to be a liberal. I have looked at your webpage and have concluded that your world view has many similarities to mine and I would not consider myself “liberal” in today’s sense and understanding of the word.
Thanks again to Capt. Coulson. Good luck to him and Company A on their mission. I hope America is smart enough to match their bravery with the patience needed for success.

All sane people oppose war. But the only way to end a war permanently is to win it in freedom’s favor. Thanks to Americans like Capt. Coulson, freedom has a chance.

Frank Warner

Free Frank Warner.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 12/1/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?
The House and Senate members might cast the last votes of the 109th Congress and the Republicans' congressional majority next week. The plans are to adjourn by next Friday, December 9th.

The Senate returns Monday to formally receive the nomination of Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld. The Armed Services Committee is expected to begin hearings Tuesday and the Senate could vote on his nomination as early as the end of the week.

Adjournment for the year depends on "completing all necessary work, with the goal of being done next week." Neither the House nor the Senate appear to have the appetite to finish outstanding appropriations measures this year, and both chambers have tentatively agreed to punt them to the new Democratic majority next year.

A tentative 2007 Senate schedule for the 110th Congress, 1st Session has recently been released.
January 4 - Senate Reconvenes; Senators sworn in
January 5 - Senate not in session
January 15 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 19-23 - Senate not in session
February 19 - President’s Day (Lincoln's and Washington's Birthday. So there!)
April 2-9 - Senate not in session
April 8 - Easter
May 28-June 1 - Senate not in session
May 28 - Memorial Day (observed)
July 2-July 6 - Senate not in session
July 4 - Independence Day.
August 6-September 4 - Senate not in session
August Recess
September 3 - Labor Day
September 4 - Senate Reconvenes

Montgomery GI Bill Act.
In the 110th Congress Representative Vic Snyder (D-AR) is introducing a bill to end the disparity between the active duty and National Guard and Reserve Component benefits. When called to active duty the National Guard and Reserve Components are eligible to receive $860 a month if they serve a 2- year tour. But they must remain a Reserve Component member to use their benefit. Veterans can earn up to $1,075 a month after Active Duty and those veterans retain their benefit for a decade after leaving the military. NGAUS will be watching for this bill and will have tracking on the NGAUS homepage.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?
We welcome Peter J. Duffy as our new Deputy Director and Joint Lobbyist. Pete is a retired Army JAG Colonel from New Hampshire who is leaving a law practice in Manchester, after thirty years as a civil litigator. He holds a JD from the University of California; a BA from Stanford University; and MA in strategic studies from the Army War College admitted to the Bar in California and New Hampshire. COL Duffy spent his active duty years in FRG as a defense counsel, legal assistance officer and counsel to the tri service Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board. He is the father of three grown daughters He and his wife Susan have been married for 28 years. He looks forward to aggressively continuing his advocacy on behalf of National Guard members in his new position. He joins the staff on January 2, 2007.

Save This Date.
The 10th NGAUS Congressional Action Contact Officer (CACO) Conference is scheduled for 5-6 March 2007 at the National Guard Memorial. We have reserved rooms at the Phoenix Park Hotel at a rate of $199.00 per night. Rooms are available for arrival on Sunday, 4th of March and departure on Wednesday, 7th of March 2007. Go to Phoenix Park Hotel and enter the Group Code 29489 to make your reservations.

The National Guard Association of the United States looks forward to hosting you once again as we work together in building a stronger National Guard.

Industry Day.
On December 6th, NGAUS will be hosting its annual Industry Day. This event is an excellent opportunity for industry to build stronger partnerships between NGAUS and the National Guard Bureau to enhance the modernization and readiness of the Army and Air National Guard. The Honorable Gene Taylor, Representative from Mississippi, will be the featured speaker, as well as the senior leaders of NGAUS and leadership of the National Guard Bureau. For those companies not familiar with “How to do business with the Guard” a mini workshop will be held on December 5th. For more information on these events and a preliminary agenda visit the Industry Section on the NGAUS website at: NGAUS.org.

Q&A with Secretary Thomas Hall.
This week The Military Coalition’s Guard and Reserve Committee held a roundtable with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Thomas Hall. Attending with Secretary Hall were Major General James A. Kelley, Deputy

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (Readiness Training and Mobilization) and Sergeant Major Joseph A Staudt, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. Representing the NGAUS Legislative team at this Q&A session were Richard Green and Emily Breitbach. The meeting allowed the Reserve Component Veterans’ Associations to interact directly with the Secretary and his staff relating to important legislative and policies is affecting the Reserve Component.

NGAUS Notes: 12/1/2006

Planning Set for NGAUS Industry Day Next Week.
More than 200 corporate officials will gather Wednesday in The National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C., for the ninth annual NGAUS Industry Day.

The association established the daylong event in 1997 to bring together Guard procurement officers with companies that offer military-related products and services.

Over the years, Industry Day has also attracted members of Congress and their staffs, NGAUS board members and state Guard association officials.

This year, the association will offer for the first time a mini workshop on doing business with the Guard to companies unfamiliar with the unique procurement needs and procedures of the nation's only dual state/federal military organization.

NGAUS officials will conduct the workshop Dec. 5, the day before Industry Day.

The Industry Day agenda includes a presentation on how NGAUS works with industry by association legislative staff and a congressional perspective on equipment issues from Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., co-chair of the House Guard and Reserve Caucus.

Attendees will also get an overview of current and long-term Army and Air Guard equipment and modernization requirements from senior National Guard Bureau officers.

They will also receive an update on exhibition opportunities at the Adjutants General Association conference in June in Anchorage, Alaska, and the 129th NGAUS General Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico in August.

Industry Day will conclude in time for the dedication of the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom exhibit in the National Guard Memorial Museum that same day at 4 p.m.

Additional Industry Day information is available at NGAUS.org.

Guard Museum to Dedicate Terror War Exhibit.
A new exhibit featuring the National Guard's participation in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom opened this week at The National Guard Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

The museum's official dedication ceremony is Dec. 6 during NGAUS Industry Day.

"The mission of the museum is to educate the public about the history and legacy of the National Guard," said Jason Hall, National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF) director. "The Guard's participation in Iraq and Afghanistan tells in great detail the next chapter in the Guard's history - a chapter in which so many Guardsmen have fought and sacrificed."

Items donated by Guardsmen from each combat theater include a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) and flight suit worn in Iraq and a flight tunic from Afghanistan.

A touch-screen monitor will allow visitors access to hundreds of additional digital Guard images.

Doug Hartman, president of Hartman Historical Services, completed the final installation of the exhibit this week. The NGEF board of directors approved his proposal in July.

Earlier this year, the NGAUS board of directors approved a fundraising drive led by Hazell Booker, NGAUS director of industry and association liaison. Over a three-month period, corporate members, state associations and individuals donated more than $50,000 for the project. The names of the more than 100 contributors are also part of the new exhibit. Several will be present at the dedication next Wednesday.

The museum is open weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit NGAUS.

Publication Discusses Adoption Options for Military Personnel.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released Wherever My Family Is: That's Home! Wednesday to highlight adoption practices that help minimize the adoption obstacles military families face.

"Military families have many strengths, including flexibility and a strong sense of community, that make them good foster and adoptive parents," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade F. Horn. "This new guide will help state agencies work effectively with military personnel to assure that all families who want to give a child a loving home can do so."

The user-friendly guide is designed not only for social work practitioners, but for military families contemplating adoption or foster parenting. It is sprinkled with stories of real adoptive military families.

"This guide supports the professionals dedicated to supporting military families as they navigate the requirements to fulfill their dreams of adopting children," said Barbara Thompson, director of the Office of Family Policy at the Defense Department. "The strengths of military families are recognized - and helping others understand those strengths will overcome many of the hurdles faced by families who relocate and live across the world."

A team including representatives of the HHS Children's Bureau, The Collaboration to AdoptUsKids, The Adoption Exchange, Inc., McKenzie Consulting, Inc., the National Military Family Association and the American Public Human Services Association prepared the publication.

The guide is available online at www.Adopt US Kids.org.

Communications Dept. Seeks Seasoned Staff Writer.
The National Guard Association has an immediate opening for an experienced staff writer. Selected candidate will contribute to National Guard, the association's monthly magazine, NGAUS Notes and the NGAUS Web site.

Duties include writing short news stories and covering a variety of hearings on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

For the magazine, the successful candidate will contribute at least one substantial feature story each month and assist in editing and producing the final product. Some travel is required.

Candidates must have five years of reporting experience. Familiarity with the military and the National Guard is preferred.

Interest in writing about military/legislative topics a must. Car required. Salary: low- to mid-40s. Excellent benefits include health and dental coverage and a 401k plan. Convenient Capitol Hill location.

Please send cover letter, resume and three writing samples to:
    Communications Department,
    National Guard Association,
    One Massachusetts Ave., NW,
    Washington, D.C., 20001.
    Fax: 202-682-9358.
    E-mail: Chris Prawdzik.
Please enter "Application" in the subject line if sending e-mail.

This Week in Guard History.
Nov. 27, 1969: Indianapolis, Indiana - Families, friends and dignitaries welcome home members of the Company D, 151st Infantry (Ranger) following the company's tour in Vietnam.

The unit is the only reserve ground combat unit to serve in Vietnam. During its tour, Company D suffered two Guard fatalities along with two non-Guard combat deaths. An additional two Guardsmen would die in accidents, one stateside in an auto crash and one in a noncombat related helicopter crash in Vietnam.

The soldiers in the company are set up in teams of eight to 14 men each and were flown by helicopter into jungle areas to conduct reconnaissance patrols. Most of their missions were done without enemy contact, with the Viet Cong unaware of the observation mission. The Rangers often returned with detailed information used to plan ground raids and air strikes.

NGAUS History.
In January 1963, with a new Congress in town, the time was ripe for Guard leaders to renew acquaintances with returning senators and representatives and meet the freshman lawmakers.

As a result, NGAUS committees on legislation and Army affairs, the NGAUS executive council, Adjutants General Association of the United States (AGAUS) members and National Guard Executive Directors Association representatives met in rapid succession with big names in Washington at a NGAUS reception.

Guests at the event included such service leaders as Army Secretary Cyrus A. Vance and Gen. Curtis LeMay, Air Force chief of staff. A total of more than 700 civilian and military leaders and their spouses attended the event.

The receiving line underneath the display of state flags included Maj. Gen. William H. Harrison Jr., NGAUS president, Lt. Gen. Carl L. Phinney, NGAUS vice president, and Maj. Gen. James F. Cantwell, AGAUS president.

New Iraqi Air Force returns to sky

Friday, 01 December 2006.
By Tech. Sgt. Gene Lappe
506th Air Expeditionary Group

KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE — The new Iraqi Air Force has returned to the sky, performing a variety of missions throughout the country, thanks to training and support from Coalition advisers.

At Kirkuk Regional Air Base, advisers help Iraqi military members of Squadron 3 train for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

"Our mission is to train, advise and assist the Iraqi Air Force unit at Kirkuk in the development and execution of all aspects of air power," said Lt. Col. Greg Zehner, senior advisor for the Coalition Air Force Military Transition Team. "This includes flight operations, aircraft maintenance, base operations support activities and basic levels of professional military education.

"We also work to develop and enhance a professional military ethic for all Iraqi air force personnel, from the youngest enlisted airman to the senior officers," he said.

The mission of Squadron 3, one of six squadrons in the Iraqi Air Force, is to perform ISR of the strategic infrastructure in northern Iraq -- flying over the oil pipelines, electrical power lines and other important facilities to monitor their condition and watch for insurgent activities.

This is accomplished with the SAMA (Zenair) CH-2000 aircraft, a single-engine, two-passenger plane.

The squadron conducts a mix of training and operational missions -- training new members, getting them certified in the aircraft, and performing the reconnaissance mission with those pilots who are fully mission-capable.

The responsibility of training and advising the Iraqi military members falls to a seven-person team.

Their areas of expertise are spread across several specialties including operations, intelligence, maintenance, communications and supply.

"Our first big obstacle was getting the aircraft," said Maj. Jean Havens, director of operations. "Since they have arrived, we are moving forward with getting the Iraqis checked out on the aircraft."

Flight training had been on hold due to the grounding of the CompAir 7SL, the unit's previous aircraft.

Havens, an instructor pilot deployed from Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., is responsible for advising her Iraqi counterparts on all aspects of the flying operations.

She said she was excited about her assignment and the opportunity to be a part of helping the Iraqi air force become a self-sufficient organization.

"The dream of any instructor is to see progress of a student," she said. "Serving as their instructor will probably be the highlight of my career."

Master Sgt. James Redmond, maintenance advisor, has the responsibility of instructing and advising the Iraqi airmen on how to keep their new aircraft flying.

"We show them what has to be done and how to use technical data and proper safety procedures," he said. "Then they develop plans and techniques that will work for them."

He said his mission is to show the Iraqis how to make their air force better and to help them grow from lessons learned in the past.

"The Iraqis are eager to learn, and they take pride in their work," Redmond said. "Once the maintenance is done, they will usually hang around and watch the launch of the aircraft they worked on."

Zehner said the most satisfying part of his mission is two-fold: "Doing our part to help the Iraqis transition to a functioning democratic government at peace within its borders and with its neighbors; and the personal relationships we have gained and expect to further develop in our daily interaction with our Iraqi counterparts."

Leaders working toward security handover, dismantling al Qaeda in Iraq

Friday, 01 December 2006

BAGHDAD — Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, Multi-National Force – Iraq spokesman, spoke to members of the Arab media during a round-table discussion Thursday in the wake of President Bush’s meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan.

During the president’s meeting with the prime minister they agreed to “accelerate” the transfer of security responsibility from Coalition Forces to Iraqi Security Forces.

Caldwell told reporters Coalition Forces would do their best to quell violence in Iraq for as long as the Iraqi Government needed them. The transition of responsibility would occur when Iraqi leaders are ready, and not before, he said.

“Iraqi Forces need more support from Multi-National Force – Iraq ,” Caldwell said. “They need more troops and equipment before Iraq can ask American and Coalition Forces to pull out of Iraq .”

Caldwell emphasized that any solution to problems in Iraq will be an “Iraqi solution,” not one dictated by Coalition Forces or the United States .

“The president is committed to help the (Iraqi) government see it through until the Iraqi prime minister says U.S. assistance is no longer needed. At that time, American troops will go home,” he said.

Responding to questions on the recent rise in violence throughout Iraq , Caldwell said the current situation is “unacceptable,” and that Coalition Forces are doing everything they can to ease the problem.

Caldwell showed the reporters photos of more than 30 terror leaders who have been killed or captured in the last few months. (Click here for the Slides)

“The more we can do to bring down these operations, the greater our ability to bring down the levels of violence,” Caldwell said.

However, he said, military force is not enough.

“There needs to be a political and military solution,” Caldwell said. “A military solution alone will not solve the problem of violence. I’m encouraged to hear that the prime minister and political parties are talking about a political solution.”

Until then, he said, Coalition Forces will keep training Iraqi Security Forces to maintain peace in the streets of Iraq and work toward the accelerated transfer of security responsibility agreed upon by the president and prime minister.

Dr. Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the Iraqi Government, joined Caldwell during his discussion with the media. Al-Dabbagh said Iraqi troops could take control of their own security operations as early as June 2007.

He said the ability of Iraqi Security Forces to deal with terrorists and insurgent militias on their own will bolster the legitimacy of Iraq ’s democratically elected government.

“When Iraqi Security Forces have the ability to deal with the militias, then the Iraqi elected government will be strong,” al-Dabbagh said. “As long as militias operate in Iraq , it will be difficult for the Iraqi government to uphold the rule of law.”

“There are as many as 23 different militias operating in Baghdad alone,” Caldwell said. “The prime minister wants to deal with them within the political process. The Coalition Force’s position is that if somebody acts outside of the law – murders, executions, kidnappings – we’re going to go after them as individuals while the prime minister continues the political task of going after them as organizations.”

Al-Dabbagh said anyone who commits violence against Iraqis is a criminal and will be dealt with as such.

“No one is above the law if he breaks the law,” al-Dabbbagh said. “These militias have no right to carry weapons in the streets. The government will deal with all of them equally.”

With an accelerated timetable to make security a solely Iraqi responsibility, Caldwell said 2007 will be a “year of transition.”

Transition, he said, will begin with intensified training of Iraqi Army and Police forces.

“You’ll see a greater number of Coalition Forces that will be embedded and working beside Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police. Where before you had an 18-person team, you may now see a 54-person team. The goal is to focus on professionalism and the training of leaders.”

Caldwell said the transition will include a gradual pullback of Coalition combat operations as Iraqi troops begin to shoulder the load.

“You will see far fewer Coalition Forces doing military operations, and far more Iraqi Forces,” Caldwell said. “The Coalition Force will take on more of a support role than it ever has before. Iraqi forces will clearly be in the lead.”

(Compiled by Combined Press Information Center)

Two terrorists killed, 27 suspected terrorists detained

Friday, 01 December 2006


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces killed two terrorists and detained 27 suspected terrorists in multiple raids Friday targeting al-Qaida terrorists throughout the region.

During a raid in the Taji area, Coalition Forces assaulted the target area and engaged enemy forces, killing one terrorist and wounding a female local national who was being used as human shield by the terrorist. The female was treated on site and immediately transported by Coalition aircraft to a nearby military hospital where she is in stable condition. Ground forces also detained 14 suspected terrorists at the raid including a known foreign fighter facilitator.

In Yusufiyah, ground forces were searching a foreign fighter safe house when they encountered an armed terrorist. The terrorist was killed while resisting capture. The search of the area revealed a weapons cache consisting of multiple machine guns, ammunition, fuses and rocket-propelled grenade rounds. The weapons cache was destroyed on site.

Coalition Forces also detained one Vehicle borne improvised explosive device cell leader and eight suspected terrorists in a Baghdad raid. These terrorists were conducting of a meeting when Coalition Forces swept in and captured the cell leader and his associates. Upon a thorough search of the target, Coalition Forces discovered numerous small arms weapons and one vehicle prepared with explosives.

Two other raids netted four more detainees during operations in the Tarmiya area.

Terrorists continue to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence.

These and other foreign terrorist facilitators are killing innocent Iraqis daily and preventing the peace and stability Iraqi citizens deserve.

Four Mosul citizens killed, 29 injured in suicide attack

Friday, December 1, 2006.

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

Multi-National Division – North PAO

- Iraqi Police successfully engaged a suicide car bomber attempting to breach an entry control point leading to a police station in the Al Dawasa neighborhood Wednesday at approximately 12:15 pm.

The IP prevented the terrorist from breaching the entry control point, but the bomb exploded outside the checkpoint killing four Mosul citizens and the suicide car bomber and injuring 29.

The four citizens killed in the blast included two children and two adults. Those injured were transported to Mosul General Hospital for treatment. One IP officer received treatment for superficial wounds and was released.

“Iraqi Police in Ninewa Province are vigilant to these types of attacks,” said Maj. Adam Rocke, operations officer for 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. “The sad part is the innocent citizens who are killed or injured as a result of these cowardly acts, especially the children,” he added.

Joint statement by Amb. Khalilzad and Gen. Casey on Iraq's Participation in the 15th Asian Games

Friday, 01 December 2006.

Embassy of United States of America
Multi-National Force-Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq

Joint Statement by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George Casey on Iraq’s Participation in the 15th Asian Games in Doha, QatarDecember 1, 2006

- On behalf of the United States Embassy in Iraq and Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) we send our best wishes for success to the men and women of the Iraqi teams participating in the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. Working together, these athletes have trained amidst extreme difficulty as Iraq works to develop a country that can sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself. The athletes’ commitment and dedication to their training shows Iraqis are proud and determined teammates who will work together regardless of sect, religion or ethnicity.

Iraq will compete against 44 Asian countries during the next 15 days. Just like the brave Iraqi citizens struggle to advance freedom against the tyranny of terrorism, the weeks ahead will require commitment to excellence and selfless service in order to triumph. The athletes’ dedication and willingness to represent their country is an inspiration to us all. We share the pride of the Iraqi people in the accomplishments of these athletes and look forward to celebrating their victories.