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TAG's Message - The future is Upon us
TAG at Operation Jump Start

Despite the return of our BSB and RSTA this summer, the New Jersey National Guard continues to support the Global War on Terrorism. In mid- September, we had a send-off for the fifteen Soldiers of the Embedded Training Team (ETT), tasked with training the Afghan National Army in tactical and technical skills. Newly designated Company A, 1st Separate Battalion – the historical title of the state’s first all African-American unit from the 1930- 40s – they carry their new guidon into the front lines of the stabilization effort in Afghanistan. The ETT provides experienced U.S. Army mentors and advisors to the Afghan Army in an effort to build a professional military for that country. Join me in wishing Lt. Col. John Langston and his team a successful deployment. The oneyear deployment is part of Operation Enduring Freedom and is the second such mission for the Jersey Guard.

At around the same time, seventy-five Security Forces members of the 108th Air Refueling Wing left for a tour in Iraq. These Airmen will be responsible for base perimeter and entry control point security. Also, as members of a rapid response team, they will provide a highly-mobile reaction force to counter threats to the base. Lt. Col. Ronald Turk is leading this contingent in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Godspeed to them all.

Both Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom have put a strain on our nation’s military. In response to these challenges, the Department of Defense has adjusted its mobilization plan. Earlier this year I outlined some of the changes that the Army was implementing in order to ease the deployment schedule for Guard and Reserve forces. Some of those changes – deployments managed on a unit basis; 12 months maximum mobilization time; 9 months boots-on-ground – have remained intact.

I also said, “New Jersey units will not be among the six National Guard units remobilized sooner than originally scheduled.” I stressed that “We are still on track for 2010…no change!” Unfortunately, the reality on the ground has changed because of the new Army schedule for mobilization and in mid- October we received the Alert Order to begin preparing our 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to go forward into theater sooner than originally planned. The new timeframe for mobilization is now summer of 2008 for stateside training…with overseas deployment to follow.

As we begin to ramp up preparations for mobilization, we must also prepare our families and employers – and ourselves – for the inevitable leave of absence. As an organization made up of families…as a “Guard family”…we will do everything possible to support family members back at home. For your part, get to know your Family Readiness Group (FRG) …your Family Assistance Center (FAC) staff…your chaplains…ESGR representatives…and the myriad network of organizations and benefits that exist to assist family members while loved ones are deployed.

These next few years will not be easy. However, the consequences of failure or shortfall are serious. As members of our nation’s armed forces, we are committed to the defeat of those who threaten our freedoms and way of life. The burden of the Global War on Terrorism has been borne by the American military. We have never shirked our responsibilities and we will continue to step up to meet them. If not us, then who else will bear this burden? You are all part of a great organization with a long history of patriotism, dedication and sacrifice. It will not be easy, but I am confident that we will prevail.

Table of Contents
Volume 33 Number 3 Staff / Information
(c) 2007 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs