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The resiliency of the modern Minuteman
By Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General - New Jersey
TAG at Operation Jump Start

It never ceases to amaze me…the resilience of the New Jersey National Guard Soldier or Airman. Recently, however, I had a chance to witness this resilience firsthand and up close.

This past February, State Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome Jenkins and I traveled to Iraq to visit our Soldiers in the 117th Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Targeting and Acquisition and the 250th Brigade Support Battalion, deployed in theater since March 2006. Recently extended, they were originally due to return home this March…now they will be coming back in July or August 2007. Our visit followed hard on the heels of this news, so we didn’t know what kind of a reception to expect.

As we met and spoke with our Soldiers, however, it became apparent that, while very disappointed, these men and women were not deterred. This is a exemplary model of “can do” attitude. One thing kept popping into my head: here do we get these dedicated and loyal Citizen-Soldiers? It seems like there aren’t many folks around these days that would accept a 125-day extension in Iraq – tacked onto a 12-month boots-on-ground deployment – with as much calm and resolve.

Having seen and spoken to our Soldiers in Iraq and feeling confident that they will complete the work that they’ve been asked to do, I turn to the subjects of those left behind, the family members and friends; and our returning Guardsmen. As long as we continue to have deployed Soldiers and Airmen, I will continue to push three points: training to deploy, support families of deployed members and, when the time comes, welcome home all returning military in a manner fitting of their service and sacrifice.

These last two points aren’t tasks for just our Family Readiness Groups, Family Assistance Coordinators or the State Family Readiness Council, but for all members of the NJNG family.

I have never had any doubt that the New Jersey National Guard, as a force provider, would adapt to any changes in Department of Defense policies regarding deployment timetables or schedules. Still, I was glad to see recent improvements to the deployment policy for Guard and Reserve forces which include using whole units versus cutting up and crossing state lines to create task forces. This will ensure units that train together, deploy together.

The recent changes look toward 12 months maximum mobilization time, with approximately 10 months boots-on-ground; one year mobilized to five years demobilized ratio; and extra money for those service members deployed earlier…or extended.

By the way, New Jersey units will not be among the six National Guard units remobilized sooner than originally scheduled.

Let me finish by saying that I could not be more proud of Captains Tran and Welsh and the Soldiers of the 117th RSTA and 250th BSB. Our troops are doing an excellent job and I know they will continue to do so keeping in the uard’s 370-year tradition of serving state and nation.

TAG at Operation Jump Start

Table of Contents
Volume 33 Number 1 Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs