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Friday, February 09, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 2/9/2007

Senate Confirms Casey Next Army Chief, Replaces Schoomaker.
The Senate yesterday confirmed Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. as the next Army chief of staff by a vote of 83 to 14.

He replaces Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker, who is retiring.

General Casey, who has led Multinational Force Iraq since July 2004, was supported by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who noted last month that the general’s 30 months on the ground in Baghdad is key to dealing with the Pentagon’s commitments.

“He was the first choice of the professional military and the secretary of the Army for this position,” Mr. Gates said. “He served as the vice chief of staff of the Army. So I think he’s eminently qualified.”

As commander in Iraq, General Casey oversaw the largest sustained ground forces operation by the U.S. military in a generation.

In his confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Casey said that President Bush’s new Iraq strategy can work, emphasizing the importance of securing the Iraqi population.

“For the Iraqis to successfully assume and sustain security responsibility, their security forces must emerge as the dominant security forces in the country,” he said. “To do this, political and militia influence over the security forces must be eliminated, and levels of sectarian violence, particularly in the capital, must be brought down substantially—brought down to the point where the people in Baghdad can be safe in their neighborhoods.”

General Casey is set to hand over command of Multinational Force Iraq to Army Gen. David Petraeus tomorrow.

Pentagon Outlines War on Terror Costs.
Pentagon Comptroller Tina Jonas told Pentagon reporters Tuesday that Congress has appropriated $452 billion for the war on terror via emergency supplemental budget measures.

Lawmakers also have appropriated another $3 billion for Operation Noble Eagle, the mission providing a combat air patrol over the continental United States and security at airports that started after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The comptroller said the Defense Department is asking for another $93.4 billion as part of the emergency supplemental request for 2007.

She projected $141.7 billion in operational expenses in fiscal 2008. This will bring the total for the war on terror to about $690 billion.

Ms. Jonas also spoke about the $38.8 billion allocated for military health care for fiscal 2008. The budget assumes some change in military health care because health care expenses are rising well above inflation, she said.

In 2006, the Bush administration tried to raise the amount beneficiaries pay for health care. DoD officials said they had to update the benefit to maintain the quality of care. Under changes suggested then, certain classes of beneficiaries would have to pay more.

Congress did not go along with the request and called for a task force to examine the problem.

The 2006 National Defense Authorization Act called for DoD to appoint a 14-member Task Force on the future of military health care. The task force should present an interim report to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in May. The final report is due in December.

Essay Contest to Award $1,000 Scholarships to 25 Military Dependents.
Homefront America has joined the W. Daniel Tate family and Sara’s Hope Foundation for a second year to host a scholarship contest awarding $1,000 to 25 military dependent children who write essays on one of four themes.

The organization is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program designed to connect U.S. citizens’ support directly to troops and their families.

“This is the launching of a huge campaign,” said Mamie Maywhort, Homefront America chief financial officer. “It doesn’t matter if people only contribute a dollar; we want this to be the beginning of an endowment perpetuated every year.”

Ms. Maywhort said she began the program because she saw a need.

“With parents being deployed so much, some of these kids might not have the role model there to encourage them to pursue further education or the resources to make going to school possible,” she said.

Ms. Maywhort also said that she and the Tate family have long been passionate about encouraging youngsters to pursue higher education, especially those connected to the military.

Essays should address one of four subjects: "America—It's a Wonderful Country,”“Turning Challenges into Opportunities,”"Why I am Proud to be an American” or “My Dad/Mom—My Hero.”

Essays are due April 23 and should not exceed 500 words. Officials will announce winners in May.

Visit the Homefront America Web site at Home Front America for full instructions and application procedures.

'Train the Trainer' Workshop Set for March 11 and 12.

State and territory association leaders will discover the latest recruiting and retention practices when NGAUS hosts a special “train the trainer”membership workshop, March 11 and 12 at The National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Workshop participants will hear what is helping many states consistently achieve 100 percent NGAUS membership.

They will also review the association Web site, learn how to clarify the benefits and value of joining NGAUS and discuss membership committee initiatives.

Every state and territory is invited to send a participant, said Lt. Col. Tracy L. Settle of South Dakota, the new NGAUS membership committee chairman.

Ideal participants, Colonel Settle said, include state and territory association presidents, executive directors or membership chairs.

The workshop’s intent, he said, will be to provide attendees with all the tools necessary to go home and train their unit membership points of contact.

The association board of directors approved the workshop at its November meeting.

NGAUS will cover the hotel and meals for participants. Additional workshop information will be provided in NGAUS NOTES, on the Web site and directly to each state and territory association.

NGAUS History.
In 1978, The National Guard Heritage Gallery was honored by the Council on Abandoned Military Posts (CAMP) with an award for its “presentations and interpretation of America’s past and the role of the militia, citizen soldier and the Guard.”

Col. W.D. McGlasson, NGAUS deputy executive vice president, received the award on behalf of NGAUS.

CAMP was founded in 1966 as a non-profit educational association to identify and preserve military installations and units that no longer serve the role for which they were created.

The association was renamed the Council on America’s Military Past, USA, Inc. in 1981.

This Week in Guard History.
Feb. 7, 2003: Quincy, Ill. — Members of the 126th Maintenance Company mobilize to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit is not deployed overseas. Instead, some of its soldiers are sent to Fort Bragg, N.C., to “backfill” for troops already shipped out.

Among its 180 personnel are four sets of brothers. National Guard units draw their soldiers from the local community in which they are based and often include brothers, fathers and sons—and since the 1970s, sisters or mother and daughter combinations.

In fact, this same unit in 1968 had a very similar situation. Then designated as the 126th Service and Supply Company, it was mobilized for Vietnam service. The 148 men in its ranks included eight sets of brothers, including one set of three brothers.

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