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NGAUS E-Notes: May 1, 2009


May 1, 2009

Thousands of tons of dirt have been moved to make way for the expansion of the Army Guard Readiness Center in Arlington, Va., while the addition to the Air Guard Readiness Center at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., is due for completion within the year.

The Army Guard's addition will cost $98 million and provide 250,000 square feet, which will allow the National Guard Bureau to leave its current facility at Jefferson Plaza 1, known by many as JP-1.

"It also provides the force protection enhancements that we frankly do not get at JP-1," said Maj. Gen Peter Aylward, director of the Guard Bureau's joint staff.

Officials said the project is nearly 8 percent complete since the official groundbreaking five months ago. It is due for completion in 2011.

At the Air Guard Readiness Center, the final batches of cement are being poured into the steel structure that connects the old building to the new $52 million project. Construction of the four-story complex, which began in November 2007, is on schedule and on budget. It is about 40 percent complete, said Brig. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the center's commander.

Planners said office furniture will be carried in and occupants will get a look at their new space in about 10 months.

Lengyel said the Air Guard's directorate offices in Arlington will join the existing directorates at Andrews, allowing him to have all of his staff within walking distance.

As a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design project, the readiness center will be one of the Air Guard's most sustainable, livable and energy-efficient buildings.


No one questions the need for medical care when someone is physically injured, but when people experience emotional problems, they may feel embarrassed and afraid to seek help when the troubling signs first surface.

During Mental Health Month in May, TRICARE is reminding beneficiaries about the new publication A TRICARE Guide: Understanding Behavioral Health. The 80-page booklet is available online to all TRICARE beneficiaries at the TRICARE Smart Site at

"This guide is an important tool to reduce the stigma associated with getting help for behavioral and mental health issues," said Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director of TRICARE Management Activity. "It is always our goal to care for our beneficiaries and to provide them with information to learn about the resources available to them."

The booklet corresponds with two Defense Department initiatives. The first promotes awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and the other is an effort to help returning service members by providing expanded counseling services.

The guide provides information on seven main topics that will lead a person to better understanding the condition and how to get help, as well as the type of help that is covered by TRICARE and a person's right to privacy.

Also, for a free, anonymous mental health self-assessment, go to or call 1-877-877-3647.

TRICARE Management Activity, the Defense Department activity that administers the health care plan for the uniformed services, retirees and their families, serves more than 9.4 million eligible beneficiaries worldwide in the Military Health System.


The deadline is approaching for the 2009 NGAUS Individual Awards, so members should consider who they know that merits special recognition at this year's annual NGAUS conference.

Nominations arriving at the association's headquarters should be postmarked no later than May 15 to qualify for this year's program.

Nominees for the 10 separate individual awards should be people who have demonstrated exceptionally outstanding service, committed acts of heroism or who have contributed significantly to National Guard effectiveness.

Recipients in attendance will be presented their awards during the business sessions at the 131st NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition to be held Sept. 11 to 13 in Nashville, Tenn. Presentation times will be announced at a later date. NGAUS reimburses the $165 conference registration fee to all individual award recipients who attend.

Honorees numbered more than 100 last year and included members of Congress, governors, state legislators, community leaders and Guardsmen.

Most categories require the endorsement from an adjutant general, but state Guard associations may send their nominations directly to NGAUS.

Nominations should be sent to NGAUS Awards Program, One Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.

Award information is available on the Web site at Contact Rich Arnold of the NGAUS communications staff for additional questions about the program at (888) 226-4287 or [email protected].


Nearly 600 National Guard members have fallen in the global war on terror. In the May issue of National Guard, which was mailed to members this week, four of them are recalled by friends for whom Memorial Day comes more often than once a year ... Where were you the last time you heard a National Guard band perform? A parade? A holiday ceremony? Maybe you were at an isolated forward operating base in Iraq or Afghanistan. Band members are packing their instruments along with their weapons and deploying to the war zones. This new mission for musicians in uniform is discussed this month in National Guard. ... Air National Guard pilots are flying an aging fleet of aircraft. Maintainers are working hard to keep those airplanes in the sky. Lt. Gen. Harry "Bud" Wyatt, the Air Guard director, says the time is now to address this issue. He and others weigh in on the topic. ... Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, chairman of the NGAUS Board of Directors, says infrastructure is now the No. 1 topic for the association. In his monthly message to members, he says it is time for bold action. NGAUS has been successful on other fronts and it is time to address this growing need. ... North Dakota Guardsmen have been on duty for weeks battling a tireless enemy. Springtime flooding has threatened towns across the state as spring rains and melting ice filled rivers beyond their banks. ... Few states can boast of a military heritage that matches that of Virginia. Five future presidents have served in the commonwealth's militia. And no one will ever forget the sacrifice of a Virginia town on D-Day when so many of its sons died on the beaches of Normandy. The story is told in this month's edition of the Guard Roots series.


April 30, 1944: Forino, Italy - After resting for nearly two months, which also allowed replacements to join and train with their depleted regiments, the 36th Infantry Division (Texas) prepares to enter again the fight to capture Rome. The division has been in some of the hardest fighting of the Italian campaign, from its assault landing south of Naples the previous September and up the "boot" of Italy to the disastrous failed crossing of the Rapido River in January and its unsuccessful assaults to try to capture Monte Cassino.

After the period of rest and refitting, the unit will land at the Allied beachhead of Anzio and fight its way into Rome, helping to secure the city on June 5, one day before the D-Day landings in France. In September, the 36th will land in southern France and fight its way into Germany through the Alps. It will end the war deep inside Germany, along the Rhine River. Its wartime record will show that the division had 16,800 casualties, the ninth highest number of all Army divisions in all theaters of the war. And 14 of its men earned the Medal of Honor.


In December 1987, Maj. Gen. Ansel Stroud Jr., NGAUS president, appointed Robert E. Wheeler as curator of the model aircraft collection at the National Guard Memorial. Wheeler was an active member of the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS). The collection would continue to be a joint effort between IPMS, NGAUS and the Historical Society of the Militia and National Guard, now the National Guard Educational Foundation.

Since 1966, Bob Sauter had been in charge of the project to collect a model of every type of aircraft ever flown by a National Guard unit. Sauter's poor health led to the appointment of Wheeler. The models continue to be a permanent exhibit at the National Guard Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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