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Saturday, May 05, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 5/5/2007

Gates Tries to Reassure After War Supplemental Fails
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday that the Defense Department will do all it can to ensure troops Iraq are not affected by delays in passage of a war funding supplemental. President Bush vetoed a supplemental funding bill this week that provided troop funds but also imposed a timeline on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The bill also contained billions in additional funding for projects unrelated to the war effort, which opponents of the bill say were necessary to convince more conservative Democrats to actually approve a withdrawal timeline. Congress then tried to override the veto, but fell well short of the two-thirds vote needed for the override. Mr. Gates said the longer the supplemental funding goes unapproved, the greater the financial disruptions are on the Army. But he also said most of those will be absorbed as monies are transferred from accounts for construction, training, hiring and travel and funneled to support the war. Mr. Bush called the bill unacceptable because it mandates artificial timelines for troop withdrawal, which he said would embolden the enemy and discourage the Iraqi people. Mr. Gates said that preset timelines for troop withdrawal would be a mistake. “If you pick a certain date and say the troops are coming out on a certain date, everybody basically just gets to sitback and say, ‘OK, we got 90 or 100 days that we’ve got to wait,’” he said.“As long as there’s some uncertainty about that, it seems to me that they don’t have that luxury.”

Online Training Reduces Time Away From Home
The Defense Department unveiled a new online joint education program last week to better prepare service members to operate with other services, government agencies, foreign militaries and non-governmental organizations, while reducing class time and time away from home for military personnel. Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) went live April 30 to deliver coursework and learning tools for people involved in joint operations. At an unveiling April 27, David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said the new program recognizes that operations now and in the future will include more than military personnel. JKO’s distance-learning classes will give users a chance to learn or brush up on skills they need to operate in a challenging and constantly changing environment, he said. Air Force Gen. Lance L. Smith, commander of U.S. Joint forces command, noted the program’s consideration for the heavy demands now placed on military personnel. “This will allow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to be able to train in many areas at their own pace, in their own houses or their own workspace without having to take more time away from their family and their units,” he said. For example, one of the portal’s first offerings is the Joint Individual Augmentee Module, which will replace a week-long resident course that was offered in Suffolk, Va. Other offerings will shorten resident course time by giving students the basics online before they show up for the first day of class.

For more information, military personnel interested in the program should visit JFCOM.mil.

National Military Appreciation Month Recognizes War Sacrifices
In an effort to draw attention to the sacrifices the armed forces and their families experience, Congress has designated May as National Military Appreciation Month. The resolution, passed in 2004, urges the president to issue a proclamation encouraging people in U.S. localities, organizations and media to annually observe the month with appropriate ceremonies and activities. May and June host a number of other patriotic commemorations, including Victory in Europe Day, Military Spouse Day, Loyalty Day, Armed Forces Week, Memorial Day, Flag Day and the observance of the Navy and Army birthdays. A group of volunteers has worked for nine years to establish a month dedicated to the nation’s active-duty personnel including Guard and Reserve troops, in addition to retirees and veterans. They encourage citizens to express appreciation to military families across the nation by engaging schools, civic organizations and businesses to organize events like visiting veterans’ hospitals and decorating with patriotic themes. The Defense Department is taking part in the month-long celebration with America Supports You, a DoD program highlighting the support of grassroots groups and corporate partners to the armed forces, co-hosting events throughout the nation. The program will take part in events like the McDonald’s Air & Sea Show in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; the Joint Services Open House at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.; and several NASCAR and Professional Golfers’ Association events across the nation.

NGAUS All Stars Complete Capital Challenge Run
Five members of the NGAUS staff participated in the 26th Annual ACLI Capital Challenge on Wednesday to benefit D.C. Special Olympics. The race, held in Washington’s Anacostia Park, featured coed teams representing the three branches of the federal government and members of the media. The NGAUS All Stars represented NATIONAL GUARD magazine and finished 17th out of 34 teams in the print media standings. “We accomplished our goal of finishing in the top half of the team competition,” said Rich Arnold, NGAUS public affairs specialist. Mr. Arnold was NGAUS’ top finisher at 17 minutes 44 seconds. Other NGAUS runners included Gareth Vaughan (27:45), Pete Duffy(22:47), Maureen Hearn (29:19) and Emily Breitbach (29:38).

NGAUS History
In 1914, Boston Mayor James M. Curry welcomed the NGAUS General Conference for a week of social activities that the historic city was well equipped to offer. Following the business sessions, the delegates boarded special cars for Faneuil Hall, where they were lunch guests of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. The delegates then proceeded to the Eastern Avenue wharf, where the city steamer Monitor was waiting to take them down the harbor to Fort Andrews. The following afternoon, the Boston Braves invited several delegates to attend a game at South End Grounds as guests of the baseball club.

This Week in Guard History
May 1, 1813: Fort Meigs, Ohio—British forces, which have had a loose siege around the post for weeks finally bring up artillery and begin a bombardment. The forces in the fort consist of a mix of regulars and militia from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Virginia under the command of Gen. William Henry Harrison, who had earlier been a general in the Indiana Territorial militia. When the enemy artillery starts to pound the fort, Gen. Harrison dispatches 800 Kentucky militiamen to cross the Maumee River, attack the guns and spike them so they can no longer fire. Once accomplished, the militia pursues what appears to be retreating Indians under the leadership of Tecumseh. After entering the woods, the Indians counterattack while the British forces swing around their flanks, cutting most off from the river. Only about 150 escape with the remainder killed or captured. Of those captured, about 50 are murdered by the Indians before Tecumseh put a stop to it. The British, without use of their artillery, soon lift the siege.
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Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department. Comments and questions should be directed to NGAUS e-mail. NGAUS members can sign up for electronic delivery of NGAUS NOTES at www.ngaus.org.

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