Here is my story and perspective about how the Guard is an efficient, effective, innovative, ready, reliable, and responsive force. I was there with the NCNG in Iraq during the first Iraqi Election January 30, 2005. This picture was taken 2 days prior to the Iraqi election in front of Saddam’s palace in Baghdad, Iraq. I served 5 years Active Duty in the USMC then ran a small business for a couple years prior to deploying with the 30th Engineer Brigade. My observation was the Guard is all about the bottom line, getting the job done, and taking care of each other.
The Active and Reserve components did not seem competitive at all compared to the Guard units in Iraq. Our commander, Brigadier General Lawing, was a VP for Bell South and was the distinguished honor graduate of his class at West Point. We had real world attorneys who owned private firms working in the JAG section. We had engineers who worked for Duke Power and Progress Energy. We had real world architects, surveyors, mechanics, and IT professionals who brought their own equipment because it was superior to the outdated equipment the military provided. Convoy missions ran non-stop while schools were being built for Iraqi children.
I have realized the Guard receives the same amount of actual combat training as the Active Components throughout the year, however, the rest of the time, Guardsmen are making a living in the civilian sector with the rest of the taxpayers. Guardsmen are serving and adding value to the communities of their hometowns, while they are continuously on call for the State and the Nation. The Guard has become a superior force that provides a product of service the Active Components cannot compete with in terms of price to the taxpayers, professional expertise, contributions to the community, and relevance to our country’s needs. The Guard is grossly under recognized for its value.
Since the Guard has members in every county of every state in the US, it is certainly possible for coordinated efforts to make changes in Legislation and Congress. In a time where the United States needs an economic solution as well as a heightened capacity for National Security, the Guard clearly offers the superior solution. The general public needs to know about it. Act now, spread the word, contact your Representatives.
NCNGA Communications Committee Chairman