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TAG's Message: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

TAG and Governor Corzine - Click to Enlarge
Governor Jon S. Corzine congratulates Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth after administering the oath of office at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs while his wife Linda and their children Erika and Craig watch. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.
With all the deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism, you might think that the National Guard’s core competency of Neighbors helping Neighbors has been pushed aside or has taken a backseat.

The reality is that nearly every day the leadership of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is actively planning to assist state government should the need arise.

The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the Office of Emergency Management are fully aware of the Guard’s capabilities. These state agencies also know the Guard’s spirit and willingness to assist our fellow Garden State citizens.

Just recently we participated in tabletop exercises to see how the Guard would respond to an influenza pandemic or a hurricane. As we enter this year’s hurricane season, Guard Aviation, participated, along with state agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard, in a simulated airlift of hurricane victims.

Who can forget the compelling video images in the days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, as military helicopters rescued residents off rooftops? Within days, our citizen-Airmen were heading for the region, delivering millions of gallons of bottled water and participating in security missions. The Army Guard followed, spending nearly a month in Louisiana supporting recovery efforts. Whether it is by air or by truck, the Guard is prepared to help evacuees or to deliver supplies should a hurricane or severe weather strike our shores.

Once again the Guard has been asked to assist our long distance neighbors, this time in the southwestern states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. President Bush announced plans to temporarily boost the National Guard’s contribution to security on the U.S.-Mexican border in a nationally televised address on May 15. Under the president’s plan, up to 6,000 National Guard members will provide support to the U.S. Customs Border Patrol.

Up to 650 New Jersey National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will deploy to New Mexico as part of Operation Jump Start for a two-week Annual Training. The command and control will truly be a joint effort - the commander will be Col. Frank S. Caruso from the 50th Brigade Combat Team and the deputy commander will be Col. Roger F. Pharo Jr., from the 177th Fighter Wing.

We will be using our skills to help the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provide a more secure border that will make America safer in the years ahead. This is not a new mission for the National Guard. During the last two decades, Guard units from across the country have been working on counter-drug and various other missions in the Border States.

It is important for your family, friends and neighbors to understand that New Jersey’s Home Town Team has the personnel, the resources and capability to protect the state from threats and respond to disasters, no matter what other missions we may have.

I am confident in the abilities of New Jersey's Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, knowing you will once again, answer the nation's call.
Table of Contents

Volume 32 Number 3
Staff / Information