Monday, August 7, 2006

NGAUS Notes-8/4/2006

Blum: Equipment Shortages Crippling Army Guard Readiness.
More than two-thirds of the Army National Guard’s 34 combat brigades are not combat ready due to significant equipment shortfalls, the National Bureau Chief told reporters in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum’s comments followed recent Army disclosures that two-thirds of active-component brigades are not rated ready.

The problem, officials say, is current budget constraints that prohibit the Army from completing the equipment repairs and replacement needed when units return from Iraq or Afghanistan.

Things are especially acute in the Army Guard, which was purposely shorted funds before the war on terror, General Blum said, because few thought the Guard would be used as it is today.

“We were under resourced, deliberately, that was the national strategy, so I’m further behind,” he said, in published reports. “I’m in an even more dire situation than the Army. We’re both sick, I just have a higher fever.”

Because the Army Guard wasn’t equipped as fully as the active component, “we went into [the war] with a deeper deficit,” but the Guard and its equipment went through the same wear and tear, General Blum said.

“There’s a clear need to re-equip both the active [component] and the Guard,” he said.

The Guard needs $21 billion to reequip itself, General Blum added.

“That is not just reset, that’s to buy them the equipment they must have to do their job,” he said.

He indicated Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker and Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey are committed to providing the Guard that money over five years.

Pentagon Organizes Second Annual Freedom Walk.
The Defense Department announced Monday it will hold the second annual America Supports You Freedom Walk Sept. 10, the night before the five-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

It will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will follow a two-mile route from the National Mall to the Pentagon. Participants will pass several national memorials, then will proceed over Memorial Bridge to Arlington National Cemetery before arriving at the Pentagon.

Immediately following the walk, musical star Denyce Graves will perform.

Last year’s inaugural walk drew more than 15,000 participants, including family members of Sept. 11 victims and members of Congress.

It also inspired more than two dozen cities across the country to hold their own Freedom Walks as a new tradition of patriotic support, and the number is expected to grow.

In Sebring, Ohio, 9-year-old Colton Lockner is organizing a Freedom Walk for his hometown. Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping military families, is overseeing walks in several cities. Chicago also has pledged its support to launch the city’s first Freedom Walk, and mayors Tammy Moore of Belleview, Fla., and Ernie Currier of Enid, Okla., are among the growing number of city officials creating Freedom Walk traditions in their cities and towns.

Anyone interested in starting a local Freedom Walk can download the Freedom Walk planning guide for assistance and recommendations and register it on the America Supports You Web site.

Locations of other walks across the country as well as registration, time and location information for the Washington, D.C. Freedom Walk also can be found at the America Supports You Web site at www. americasupportsyou. mil.

Short Film on Army National Guard Debuts Nationwide Today.
A two-minute film highlighting the missions of the Army National Guard will appear in 2,000 movie theaters nationwide beginning today.

The short, Citizen-Soldier, will play before the feature film and is meant to create an understanding of how the Guard serves America, demonstrating the character and commitment of its soldiers.

It will run in movie theaters through Sept. 7. It will also run in college theaters from Sept. 8 to Oct. 5.

Most civilians never have an opportunity to witness the dynamic range of actions required to perform the missions of the National Guard, according to Col. Richard R. Guzzetta, Army National Guard’s Strength Maintenance Division chief.

This film provides a glimpse of these capabilities and of the soldiers who perform them, he said.

The film is a culmination of footage of Army Guard units across the country in training and real-life missions shot by embedded civilian and Guard cameramen.

The film will be promoted to the general public in the following manner:

* Operators at 1-800-GO-GUARD telling callers about it;
* E-mails to 2006 lead database; and
* Text messages to nonprior service leads.

Contact Andy Blenkle, LM&O Advertising, at 703-797-7109 or via email at andyblenkle@lmo.com for a list of participating theaters, or Lt. Col. Mike Jones, Army Guard Strength Maintenance Division deputy chief, at Michael.jones@ngb.army.mil.

Call 1-800-GO-GUARD or e-mail Mr.Blenkle@LM&O with your name, address, phone and intended use of the film to order DVD copies.

Legislative Director Speaks to State Leaders.
Retired Brig. Gen. Richard Green, NGAUS legislative director, served as one of four panelists addressing the impact on the National Guard of current worldwide operations at the Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference (CSGERC) Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Combat readiness, equipment shortages, longer deployments and whether the deployment of some emergency “first responders” overseas puts states at risk were among the topics discussed.

New Hampshire State Sen. Joseph Kenney, a Marine Reserve lieutenant colonel, Maj. Gen. Robert P. French, deputy Pennsylvania adjutant general (Army), and Brig. Gen. James Joseph, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency director, were also on the panel.

The panel was part of the CSGERC’s annual business meeting that gathers state policy makers, business leaders and the academic community from the organization’s 17 member jurisdictions.

General Green’s participation was part of the NGAUS legislative department’s continuing outreach efforts.

Week in Guard History.
August 1, 1956: Capt. Norma Parsons becomes the first woman to join the National Guard when she was sworn in as a nurse at the 106th Tactical Hospital, part of the New York Air National Guard.

Only two days earlier, and after much debate, Congress finally enacted Public Law 845, allowing the participation of women in the Guard. But there were serious restrictions. Only female officers were allowed to serve, and they could serve only as nurses or in medically-related specialties such as dietitians, physical therapists or laboratory technicians.

The Army Guard’s first female member was 1st Lt. Marie Saint Charles Law who joined Alabama’s 109th Evacuation Hospital in January 1957.

To learn more about Captain Parsons, please visit The National Guard Memorial Museum at The National Guard Memorial in Washington. The museum highlights the achievements of Guard personnel, such as Captain Parsons, and is the only national museum dedicated to the National Guard. The museum tells the Guard story from the First Muster in 1636 through its participation in conflicts throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries as well as its most recent participation in the war on terror. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

NGAUS History.
In 1974, President Nixon signed a bill into law permitting Guardsmen who die “under honorable circumstances” after May 28, 1974, to leave their families with a U.S. flag at their burial.

This was a subject of resolutions for two years at the NGAUS general conference. The law stipulates that the service secretary concerned may pay for a flag to be presented to the appropriate person for a member of the Guard or Reserve who dies under honorable circumstances while a member of the Ready Reserve or with at least 20 years of service.

Rep. Lucien N. Nedzi, D-Mich., introduced the bill.

Produced weekly by the NGAUS communications department.Comments and questions should be directed to ngaus@ngaus.org.

This post was moved from DoD Daily News-2.

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