Well, I have officially entered the “blogosphere” with the standing up of my official blog! It’s called, as you can see from the masthead above, “From My Foxhole.” I hope you’ll check back here periodically and take a look at my entries and maybe post a comment. You can also sign up to be notified everytime there’s a new post.
This is just another way to communicate with our Soldiers, Airmen, Families and Employers and talk about what our North Carolina National Guard is doing and how vital it is to the people of this state and this nation. Also, let me know if you have any ideas for a post by hitting the “Contact Us” link in the menu bar at the top of the page.
Remember, you can also follow me on Twitter at @NCTAG and on Facebook at NCAdjutantGeneral.
This is something of a work in progress, and I always want it to be fresh, so please bear with me on the growing pains! The fact that I can update this from my Blackberry virtually ensures typos will pop up every now and then. I’ve already posted a few things here as we tested the site over the past week. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll do so again.
Let me take a moment to update you on the progress of our aviation assets assisting our fellow citizens in the hard-hit regions of the Northeast. We did in fact launch our three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters based in Salisbury and two Georgia Army National Guard CH-47s. They left from our Army Aviation Support Facility in Morrisville headed to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The Aviation Task Force is called “Guardian 1″ and consists of our helicopters, a command and control package of four of our Soldiers from the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade in Morrisville and 12 Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment from Salisbury. The entire package, led by North Carolina Soldiers, has six UH-60s in addition to the Chinooks and has representation from Massachusetts and Connecticut as well.
On the Air National Guard side of the house, we have a C-130 from the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte in Newcastle, Del., helping ferry supplies and rescue personnel. We expect that airplane back home sometime on Friday.
Bottom line, our Ready Team is very much engaged in the response and recovery effort in the Northeast!
North Carolina Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Company C, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment arriving at Morrisville, N.C., Oct. 31, to stage before leaving for New Jersey and disaster-relief duty (National Guard photo by Technical Sgt. Brian Christiansen, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)
Aircraft from around the country on the ramp at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, 145th Airlift Wing headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. (National Guard photo by Technical Sgt. Patricia Findley, 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)
The storm has passed, and, thankfully, North Carolina was spared the worst that Sandy had to offer. Unfortunately, it dealt a tough blow to our neighbors to the northeast and, combined with two other storm systems, turned into a severe winter threat in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Today, we began drawing down the forces we mobilized to deal with Sandy along our Atlantic coast and started looking at what forces might be needed to deal with the snow in the west should it become necessary. We also started receiving aircraft and personnel from around the country that made the continental trip to stage for relief efforts in the Northeast. On the ramp at the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte, airplanes and helicopters from California, Alaska, New York and Nevada have sprouted. In Morrisville, CH-47s from Alabama and Georgia came to roost.
For our part, we’ve put three dozen Air National Guard Airmen on annual training orders to
Ch-47 Chinook helicopters from the Army National Guard in Georgia and Alabama on the ramp at N.C. National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility No. 1 in Morrisville, N.C. (National Guard photo by Technical Sgt. Brian Christiansen, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)
prep gear and personnel for potential duty in the disaster zone. They will bring communications capabilities and engineering help. Our first responsibility, of course, is to the governor and the citizens of North Carolina, but we also know that we’re all in this together, so when our friends need help, we’re there for them like they’re there for us.
We’re nearly 12,000 strong here in North Carolina, and we’re all standing on go for whatever mission we’re asked to perform.
Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy taken from the GOES-East satellite. (NOAA.gov)
The North Carolina National Guard is ready to support our emergency management partners and Governor Perdue as we help our fellow citizens deal with Hurricane Sandy.
We practice for these missions constantly. We plan and then evaluate our plan in conjunction with emergency management. We have experienced people who are ready to go.
By noon tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 27), we’ll have 74 Soldiers and Airmen on state active duty in Raleigh, Washington, Kinston and Tarboro ready to move equipment and supplies by air or on the ground, provide communications, emergency power and whatever other missions are needed. Another 70-plus are on immediate standby with more than 10,000 potentially available if it comes to that. We hope it won’t.
Always Ready! Ready Team!
Soldiers of the 113th Sustainment Brigade, North Carolina National Guard, on duty in Southwest Asia (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Miko Booth, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)
More Guard Soldiers are coming home! I’m very excited to know that the people of Greensboro and Lenoir will welcome home the Soldiers of the 113th Sustainment Brigade on Saturday afternoon! I know my excitement pales in comparison to how happy their families will be to see them after a year away at war.
This unit has been in Kuwait and Afghanistan supporting all the logistical needs of American and NATO forces there. It was a tough job, but one they did well. The unit earned dozens of Army Commendation and Achievement Medals, Bronze Stars and even a Legion of Merit.
The mission of these fine Soldiers points up how engaged the Guard is in our nation’s defense. Even as the 113th comes home, other Tarheel Guard Soldiers and Airmen remain in harm’s way in Southwest Asia and around the world. And more North Carolinians are getting ready to deploy in the coming months.
No other fighting force is as cost-effective, ready, reliable and responsive than the Guard. After more than a decade of conflict, we have the skills, training and experience needed for any mission, whether it be at home or abroad (Yes, we’re watching Sandy churn out at sea too!). And at a fraction of the cost at a time when our country needs to act wisely when it comes to fiscal issues. Our operational force gives America the same military reach and capabilities it has always had at its disposal but for pennies on the dollar when compared to the cost of large, standing, active-duty formations.
That is a huge issue to consider as we head into the final days of the election cycle.
Policy aside, let’s welcome home the fine Soldiers of the 113th, great members of our Ready Team! They’ll get into Greensboro’s Piedmont Triad Airport around 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27.
Welcome home, and job well done!
Letter to the Editor
A terrorist’s bomb, an act of terror initiated by a coward flipping a switch, has taken three young lives. It happened Oct. 1 in Khost City, Afghanistan. Where before there were determined faces, now there are gaps in our ranks. More importantly, there are gaps in three young families.
Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson, 29, of Raeford, Sgt. T. J. Butler IV, 25, of Leland, and Sgt. Jeremy Hardison, 23, of Browns Summit, voluntarily joined the military. Through the crucible of training, they earned the title of United States Soldier. When duty called, they willingly answered, going in harm’s way on behalf of all of us so that we could continue to enjoy the blessings of freedom our nation holds so dear.
I write today so that all who read this would remember them, remember their families and honor their service.
But I also write to say thank you to the people of the communities they called home. The heartfelt displays of shared grief, the flag-lined streets, the protective arms that immediately surrounded the families of these heroes was truly awe-inspiring. You came out to mourn, yes, but you also came out to celebrate the lives of three selfless servants and to let their families know you understood the depth of their sadness.
On behalf of the North Carolina National Guard, thank you. On behalf of the families of these lost warriors, thank you. On behalf of a grateful state and of a grateful nation, thank you.
Now, we will close ranks, fill the gaps, continue the mission, strong in our resolve to finish what these young heroes started. I ask that you remember their comrades in the 514th Military Police Company who remain in harm’s way and that you keep the families of our fallen in your thoughts and prayers always.