Tag Archives: national Guard

National Guard Not Invited To GI Bill Party

The new GI Bill which provides excellent education opportunities to those who have served in the armed forces does not apply to members of the National Guard who also risked their lives. According to military spokesmen, about 33,000 Guardsmen who served during the post 9/11 crisis don’t qualify for the generous program which covers the entire tuition bill. These members of the National Guard were activated for federal duty under the control of their governor even though they were paid with federal funds instead of being activated under Title 10 under which they would be considered full time members of the armed forces.

The legislation had a blind spot and it should not be that difficult to overcome this unfortunate denial of the GI Bill to those who risked their lives in service of the nation. Anyone reading this should please contact their congressmen and urge a change that would assist these gallant men and women of the National Guard.

Combat Veteran Discharged Because He Is Gay!

Lt. Dan Choi became the first New York National Guard member to be discharged from the service because he admitted to being gay. Choi, a 2003 West Point graduate, and a member of the West Point Knights Out group made up of gays and lesbians who graduated from that institution, believes it would be a violation of the Point’s honor code to lie about his sexual orientation. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy according to Choi is “an immoral code that goes against every single thing we were ever taught at West Point with our honor code.” His lawyer, Maj. Roy Diehl commented sarcastically, “they are taking effective troops– and kicking them out , removing them from the force just as effectively as if al-Qaida was blowing them up.”

Lt. Dan Choi spent 15 months leading soldiers in combat and risking his life for his country. Tell me, President Obama, since you never served in the armed forces, do you regard your policy of delay to be immoral since it ends the service of those who risked all for their nation?

American Soldier-Farmers In Afghanistan

The George Bush approach to foreign policy in the Middle East and Asia has been predicated on the assumption might makes right. The use of military action has always been at the core of how he presents the United States on the world scene. However, many National Guardsmen who have spent their lives as farmers are beginning to draw upon that expertise in furthering democracy in Afghanistan. Although Afghanistan is about the size of Texas only 12% of its land is actually being used for productive agriculture. National Guard teams are being deployed in Afghanistan to educate farmers are more effective ways of using their land. These teams assess farmer needs in a region, take a piece of land and show how it can be farmed in more productive ways. Colonel Martin Leppert emphasizes: “We are here to provide Afghan solutions to Afghan problems.”

Most people in Afghanistan associate the United States with bombing their villages which all too often results in shifting people to the side of the Taliban. A farmer approach solution presents a greater possibility of gaining trust and confidence of the population. American farmers are among the most productive in the world, why not use their talents. Perhaps, it is time to introduce an Afghan Farmer Extension Program after the model of the American Farmer Extension Agent.

“General” Palin Has National Guard Problems

Sarah Palin has repeatedly boasted of her leadership of the Alaska National Guard as evidence of her ability to command and lead. Unfortunately, latest reports indicate the National Guard that she leads has so many personnel shortages that its aviation unit has become among the most unreliable in the nation. Six months ago, General Craig Campbell warned in an internal memo that due to personnel issues “missions are at risk” and the lack of qualified airmen has reached “the crisis level.” The situation has somewhat improved, but General Campbell fears there will be “burnout” of those serving due to extraordinary demands on their time. Governor Palin has insisted she handles great responsibilities in heading the vast Alaska Nation Guard which consists of 3,800 troops.

Actually, General Campbell blamed the low level of personnel a result of “leadership issues” and urged a more aggressive recruiting and retention program. Governor Palin is correct in one respect in her boasting about the Alaska National Guard. The fact it only has 84% of its assigned positions gives it the lowest rating in the nation.

Perhaps, if Sarah Palin was not out shooting moose or going to hockey matches she might devote some time ensuring the Alaska National Guard attained levels of proficiency necessary to be an effective unit.

Combat Soldiers Have High Incidents Of Alcoholism

National Guard and Reservists who have been in combat are more likely to develop drinking problems after they complete their active duty stint. A new study compared Afghanistan veterans before they entered service and after as part of a Pentagon effort to gain greater understanding of what happens to those in combat once returned to civilian life. The report fund more than 600 combat troops reported no binge drinking before going into combat but they developed such drinking issues once out of a combat experience. New patterns of regular heavy drinking emerged in the National Guard and reservist combat veterans.

A major factor is remembering what it was like being in combat. The heavy stress of dealing with guerrilla warfare can be debilitating since one must constantly be alert and there is no finality to a combat encounter.

Right Wing Thugs Threaten Czech Romas

The prejudice facing Romas in the Czech Republic was highlighted by recent events in the town of Karlov Vay where paramilitary members of the “National Guard” decided to station themselves outside of an elementary school in order to “protect” children from Romas who were living in a nearby dormitory. The children were promised escorts to and from school. Roma parents threatened to take their children out of school due to fear of their being hurt. A Roma student, Risa Stavansky, and his two friends were threatened by one of these “guards” who took out a switchblade. The police said they had personnel in the area and the mayor of the town said he would be “glad to hear their side” of the dispute, and by, “their,” he referred to the thugs.

No school anywhere in the world needs “guards” if the local police are doing their job. It is clear officials in this community are not doing their jobs as guardians of law and order. A mayor does not talk with thugs to “hear their side.” By the way, is he making any effort to hear the side of Roma parents?

Terminator Governor Wants Deployment Termination

Governor Arnold Schwarenegger wants the Federal government to reduce its seizure of National Guard equipment for use in Iraq because of its effect on California’s needs. “I think it is not fair to the state for the federal government to go into a war situaiton and then to take from us the equipment. Every time our National Guards leave, they take with them equipment but they don’t bring it back. So there’s only so long they can do that.” The governor said his complaints have only resulted in a “sorry about that” attitude, but no assurances have been provided to rectify the situation. There are about 3,000 Guardsmen from California in Iraq and about 600 stationed on the border with Mexico. Governor Schwarzenegger was particularly upset at the loss of Chinook helicopter but was told it would take at least a year to get them returned.

In talks with Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff, the governor discovered only 3,000 of the supposed 6,000 additional Border Patrol staff had actually been hired. The entire use of National Guard men and equipment is a national disgrace. Men and women are being compelled to abandon jobs and families due to the Bush fiasco in Iraq without any sense of a termination to the entire process. Is the drain on the National Guard to go on and on? When will there be an end to this process? Unfortunately, for Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the movies the good guy achieves his goal within two hours. Sorry, Arnold, you are living in Bush America and nothing ever gets done within two years, let alone two hours.

What Happens If Withdrawal From Iraq Halts?

As the situation in Iraq becomes quieter, American military leaders are pondering their options regarding the future. Should troops be withdrawn who were sent during the surge? As their term of deployment winds down to an end, where will replacements come from? If present levels of troops are maintained in Iraq it will most probably require activating additional National Guard units and Reserve forces. There is considerable discussion as to whether a pause should be instituted, decisions which involve– tour length, th number of troops required, and the mix of National Guard, active duty and reservists who will constitute the force in the field.

Army units still serve 15 month tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is there a point at which maintaining existing forces in the Middle East creates serious problems about the morale both of those serving and family members at home?

Santa Claus Flying In From Nebraska!

US military personnel who had leave time were planning to pay their way back home to Nebraska before concerned people in their native state decided to play Santa Claus. Spc. Heather Davey had put $587 on her credit card to get back home before learning she had a free ride due to the generosity of her fellow Nebraskans. She and 40 other members of the 110 Medical Battalion training in the state of Washington were the recipients of money raised within 24 hours by the Nebraska business community. Democrat senator Ben Nelson heard about the plight of his constituents and immediately contacted nebraska business leaders to take on the task of getting the military personnel back home.

Every once and a while, this writer wonders about the attitude of American leaders toward issues faced by those called to serve the nation. President Bush is always ready to condemn and deride opponents for ignoring the needs of the military, but he rarely does anything than speak and speak about his own patriotism. Has Bush ever once lifted his hand to do something about those in serve in order to make their lives easier? He opposed the proposed Democratic Congress raises for the military on grounds it constituted an excessive expenditure. Funny, he never hesitates giving Christmas gift tax cuts to the wealthy of America.