NGB Chief Touts Diversity, Receives Award at NAACP Gathering
Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief, told the NAACP last week that the organization had helped the Guard reach out to American communities and encourage joining diversity among the force.
“Today, minorities account for about 20 percent of our total Guard force, and females account for about 14 percent of our total Guard force,” he said in a keynote address at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s 31st annual Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Awards Dinner.
The dinner was held during the NAACP’s national convention.
At the event, General Blum received the 2006 NAACP Meritorious Service Award. Established in 1975 by the NAACP’s Armed Services Veterans Affairs Department, the award is presented annually to a service man or woman in a policy-making position for the highest achievement in military equal opportunity.
“As I stand before you here this evening, we owe you a debt of gratitude and need your continued support,” General Blum said. “It’s critically important that the Guard look like America.”
He said the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard offer the greatest opportunity for the youth of America. “You put them in there and there’s great pressure to keep them drug-free, not to abuse alcohol, and they teach them character and values,” he said.
General Blum compared the military services’ capabilities to the strength of diversity in America. When the services work individually, they’re good, but when they work together, they’re unbeatable.
Conference, Membership Dominate Board Discussions
The upcoming 128th General Conference and Exhibition and membership dominated discussions at the NGAUS board of directors meeting last weekend at The National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Board members approved 114 NGAUS Individual Awards for presentation at the conference. The complete list of recipients will be released next week. Thirty-five states nominated people this year.
Honorees this year include the inaugural recipients of the NGAUS Company Grade Leadership Award.
The board also referred a change to the NGAUS bylaws to create a new standing committee to help with future conference planning and discussed further growth of conference professional development sessions.
The 128th NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition is set for Sept. 15 to 18 in Albuquerque, N.M.
In addition, board members received the annual audit report, reviewed the mid-year budget and received the traditional six-month membership figures that determine membership awards and seating at the conference.
They heard that the nationwide June 30 membership stood at 63 percent, the same total as last year at this time. However, some properly postmarked but late-arriving checks pushed to the total to 64 percent this week.
Fifteen states were at full membership. Alabama was the most improved state, going from 54 percent last year to 80 percent thus far in 2006.
Among board actions, members selected Maj. Gen. David B. Poythress, Georgia adjutant general (TAG) and Area III TAG representative, to fill the remaining two-month term of retired Maj. Gen. William B. Lynch, NGAUS vice chairman (Air).
General Lynch resigned from the board in June to take a U.S. State Department position in Baghdad.
Christmas in July will Ensure Christmas for Troops in December
Thanks to the efforts of Stars for Stripes and Operation Give, troops in Iraq will have Christmas stockings this holiday season. But Paul Holton, the operation’s founder and an Army Guardsman, encourages early donations to the program’s Salt Lake City warehouse, preferably by Oct. 15.
He said this year’s goal is to ship at least 10,000 stockings.
“If we take care of every boot on the ground, then we would start giving them to the kids,” added Judy Seale, president and CEO of Stars for Stripes. “[We] cannot send too many.”
Operation Give is a nonprofit organization that coordinates the collection and distribution of items for Iraqi children, who, after years of tyranny and war, have almost nothing.
Stars for Stripes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality entertainment to internationally deployed U.S. military forces.
Items such as hygiene, entertainment, and comfort items will be included in the stockings. The actual stockings are needed, as well.
Mr. Holton said Operation Give’s donations come from many sources including scouting groups, church and civic groups, as well as corporations and individuals.
Mr. Holton knows a little piece of home goes a long way when you’re away from family and friends. He spent all of 2003 and half of 2004 in Iraq, and said the Christmas tree, ornaments and gifts the troops in his unit received made them all feel good.
“It’s just a boost of morale,” he said. “I know how important it is to get stuff from home during Christmas.”
Visit Operation Give for complete information.
Recent War on Terror Photographs Sought
National Guard magazine is looking for recent pictures of the Army and Air Guard around the world for a September picture story. Selected photos will be used in a special “Starting Point” chronicling the fifth year of the war on terror.
Suggested subjects include Guardsmen and Guard equipment supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OIF/OEF), homeland security missions, predeployment training, and deployment/redeployment ceremonies.
Submissions must be high-resolution (at least 300 dpi) digital images taken since Sept. 11, 2005. Images along with full caption and byline information should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is Aug. 4.
Public affairs personnel, individual soldiers and airmen, family members and friends are all invited to submit.
All photos will also be forwarded to the National Guard Educational Foundation for possible inclusion in the National Guard Memorial Museum’s new OIF/OEF exhibit, which is under development.
More information can be obtained from Maureen Hearn, magazine production manager, at 888-226-4287 or email@example.com.
Delegates to the 1946 General Conference in Buffalo, N.Y., unanimously adopted by laws that provided for several classes of individual membership.
The first 10 life members included: Maj. Gen. Ellard A. Walsh, Maj. Gen. Milton A. Reckord, Brig. Gen. Charles H. Grahl, Col. Oliver P. Bennett, Maj. Gen. Edward J. Stackpole, Maj. Gen. Jim Dan Hill, Maj. Gen. Ray C. Fountain, Maj. Gen. George. E. Leach, Col. Ross H. Routh and Maj. Gen. Roger W. Eckfeldt.
To become a NGAUS life member visit the “Membership and Benefits” section at http://www.ngaus.org.
Week In Guard History
July 27, 1944: Allied forces continue their assaults in Operation Cobra, the planned Allied breakout from Normandy, France, killing and capturing large numbers of German soldiers and destroying their armored equipment by constant air attack.
This operation, which was supposed to start with a massive aerial bombardment of German defenses along the Vire River July 24, led instead to one of the worst incidents of “friendly fire” during World War II.
Poor visibility postponed a bomber strike, but some of the squadrons did not get the word and dropped their loads on top of North Carolina’s 120th Infantry, an element of the 30th Infantry Division, composed of Guard units from North and South Carolina and Tennessee. Because word of the cancelled attack didn’t reach the frontline, soldiers of the 120th were exposed while waiting for the word to advance.
More than 150 men were killed or wounded in this mistake. Cobra started the next day, again with friendly fire casualties, but it also inflicted a heavy toll on the enemy. The 30th division and other American units punched through the Nazi lines, and by early August the Allied armies would break out of Normandy completely, liberating Paris Aug. 25.
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