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Army Guard Leaders Key to Ready, Capable Force, Director Says

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2009 – The quality and readiness of the Army Guard is in the hands of its senior leadership, the Army Guard’s top officer told more than 2,000 officers and senior noncommissioned officers here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard, addresses senior leaders and conferees Nov. 19, 2009, at the National Guard Bureau’s Joint Senior Leadership Conference at the National Harbor outside Washington, D.C. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“Historically, the National Guard has always been responsible for manning the National Guard, and that has not changed,” said Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard, who spoke at the National Guard’s first-ever Joint Senior Leadership Conference.

Pointing out the “absolutely tremendous” accomplishment of recruiters and retainers in meeting the Army Guard’s end strength in 2009, Carpenter told those gathered that the component’s level of readiness and quality of its ranks this year were the highest in its modern history.

“The readiness inside your formations, out there in hometown America, is better than it has ever been in terms of people we are bringing in and the people who are coming to drill,” he said.

The Army Guard’s end-strength goal for fiscal 2010 is 358,200 soldiers.

Carpenter told the audience that finding quality recruits in hometown America to maintain that end strength will become increasingly challenging.

Tying the future of the nation’s youth with the future of the Guard, Carpenter called on leaders to continue their engagement in programs that mentor and assist the nation’s growing percentages of troubled youth.

He pointed out the success of the Guard’s community programs, including the Patriot Academy, Youth ChalleNGe, About Face, Partners in Education and Forward March, as well as many other programs in the states and territories that support hometown America.

“We live in these towns, and if we don’t [help] solve the problems [of this nation] we will also be the benefactors of what we have not taken care of,” he said. “I applaud all of you for what you are doing.”

Carpenter also said that one of the greatest success stories in his more than 42-year military career was the rebuilding of the NCO corps of the Army.

The NCO corps of the Army National Guard is a strategic asset to this nation, he said.

The Army and the reserves celebrated their enlisted forces in 2009, calling it the “Year of the NCO.”

In the last 11 months, the Army Guard sponsored many events paying tribute to the competence, qualifications, experience and leadership that NCOs provide the Army Guard every day, he said.

“It has truly been a great year of the NCO,” Carpenter said. He asked the audience to stand and applaud NCOs in all service components.

“Next week, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to count our blessings,” he said. “I would hope that as you give thanks, one of the blessings you count is the modern day National Guard and Army National Guard. It’s truly a treasure, and that treasure is the soldiers, families, friends, communities and employers who are on-point for this state and nation.”

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves in the National Guard Bureau.)

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Related Sites:
National Guard Bureau

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