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Friday, March 23, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 3/23/2007

Governors Urge Congress to Reset Guard Units
The nation's governors sent a letter to lawmakers Monday urging them to add perhaps billions of dollars to the fiscal 2008 defense budget to replace National Guard equipment damaged or left behind in Iraq and Afghanistan. The letter, sent by the National Governors Association (NGA) to Reps. John Spratt, D-S.C., and Paul Ryan, R-Wis., House Budget Committee chairman and ranking member, specified vehicles and other equipment the Guard desperately needs for missions at home.

"Unless this equipment is replaced in a timely fashion, the ability of our Guard units to train for future military actions or respond to citizens' needs in an emergency is greatly diminished," the letter states. It was signed by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, NGA chairwoman, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the association's vice chair.

Governors also urged Congress to work closely with the National Guard Bureau to identify the greatest need. In January, Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, NGB chief, told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves that the Army and Air Guard is short nearly $40 billion worth of equipment. He also noted that 88 percent of nondeployed Army Guard units have less than half the necessary equipment for domestic crisis response.

For the first time in 35 years, General Blum added, less than 45 percent of Air Guard units have the equipment they need to deploy. The letter did not specify funding amounts, but it tells senior lawmakers that a need exists for "adequate budget authority to reequip Army and Air National Guard units returning from abroad."

"Early Bird" Membership Deadline Next Week
NGAUS membership dues from state associations must arrive in Washington, D.C., postmarked by March 31 to qualify for the 5 percent "Early Bird" rebate. The program returns 5 percent of a state's submitted dues to each state that meets the deadline. In order to receive the rebate, submissions must include name, rank and the home address of each member.

NGAUS also encourages inclusion of e-mail addresses, when available. The association, however, will limit e-mail contact to legislative news and alerts. According to Bonnie Carter, deputy director of NGAUS membership, dues poured into NGAUS this week because so many associations want to take advantage of the rebate.

In addition to the 5 percent discount for dues submitted by March 31, states that retain 100 percent of their membership qualify for an additional 5 percent rebate on the total amount of annual dues submitted. NGAUS must receive dues from all state associations by June 30 for priority delegate seating at this year's general conference scheduled for Aug. 24 to 27 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But states that wish for a rebate must mail their dues by the end of next week.

States that improve membership percentages also can receive rebates on the total amount of dues submitted. They must, however, meet certain improvement criteria. Deadline for the improvement or retention rebate is Dec. 31. Last year, NGAUS officials provided nearly $100,000 to state associations nationwide as part of the two programs.

NGAUS membership dues should be mailed to: National Guard Association of the United States, Attn.: Director of Financial Operations, P.O. Box 90491, Washington, D.C. 20090.

Air Guard Retirement Process Now Internet Accessible
Eligible Air National Guardsmen can now submit retirement applications electronically via the virtual Personnel Center-Guard and Reserve (vPC-GR). It's the second Guard-specific capability added to the 24-hour customer service Web portal operated by the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) in Denver.

"Our ultimate goal is to improve and streamline how we deliver services to our Total Force airmen," said Col. Ann Shippy, ARPC commander. "We're leveraging technology and Web applications to efficiently deliver service to our customers."

Previously, Guard airmen had to visit their local military personnel flight, complete the retirement application package, submit it to their supervisor or commander and send it to ARPC. This Web-enabled service is available at any time from anywhere in the world and will give airmen the ability to monitor the status of their application from start to finish.

Guard airmen can log on to the vPC-GR at vPC-GR to begin the process and see other Guard-specific options. All of the necessary forms are available. There is also "frequently asked questions" area specific to the Guard retirement process. When the application is submitted, the customer is e-mailed a tracking number. After the airman's commander has electronically endorsed the application, the Reserve Personnel Contact Center at ARPC will verify eligibility and finalize the application. Once approved, the vPC-GR will send e-mail notifications to the airman and his or her commander.

Legislative Staff Seeks Analyst
NGAUS is seeking a legislative analyst to work at association headquarters in Washington. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor's degree, be familiar with the congressional process and the military and be able to analyze Guard-related issues. The candidate must also possess strong computer skills and be familiar with Web content management software. This is an entry-level position with opportunities for advancement.

Interested candidates should submit a resume to retired Brig. Gen. Richard Green, NGAUS legislative director, via fax: 202-682-9358 or e-mail: Brig. Gen. Richard Green.

NGAUS History
On behalf of the Historical Society of the Militia and National Guard - today known as the National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF) - Maj. Gen. Ansel M. Stroud Jr., NGAUS president, appointed Robert Wheeler of Vienna, Va., as curator of the model aircraft collection Dec. 1, 1987. Mr. Wheeler had been an active member of the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS).

At the same time, General Stroud expressed deep admiration to Bob Sauter, the man responsible for the unique collection. Mr. Sauter set out in 1966 to help NGAUS achieve its goal: a collection to depict every type of aircraft ever flown in a Guard unit.

The ambitious goal was within a few models of completion when Mr. Sauter resigned due to ill health. The collection, housed today in a glass display at The National Guard Memorial is a joint effort involving IPMS, the NGEF and NGAUS. It is open to the public weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This Week in Guard History
March 20, 1935:
Tacoma, Wash. - Elements of Washington's 161st Infantry and the 116th Observation Squadron, 41st Division serve on state active duty guarding railroad facilities, bridges and roads during a lumber-workers strike. These areas had been sabotaged or burned by the strikers.

Soldiers worked on a rotational basis so while 287 men served, only about 100 were on duty at any one time. This was necessary to help assure the men preserved their jobs. Many states had not yet enacted laws protecting Guard employment rights. If a man was gone too long he might return home to find his job terminated. Since World War II, however, all states have adopted some form of employment protection for Guardsmen serving in state declared emergencies.

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

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