Gen Grass visits CONG, witnesses support to flooding first-hand
By Capt Kinder Blacke, 140th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 22, 2013
BUCKLEY AFB, Colo. -- During a visit from Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, to Colorado, he was impressed to turn on the television and on almost every channel, see Colorado Guardsman at work, responding to the disastrous flooding that hit the state in September 2013.
It was pure coincidence that General Grass was in the state when the floods hit, but could not have provided him a better opportunity to witness the Colorado National Guard fully engaged in domestics operations.
"The Colorado Guardsmen are anxious to get out there and take care of their citizens, neighbors and friends," the general remarked, "and they are out there doing a great job in response to a completely unexpected disaster."
This consistent state of readiness is only seen in the National Guard, he said. With no time to prepare for response to a natural disaster, the Guard is always ready to be out the door at a moment's notice.
"It's hard to get people to truly understand the value of the Guard unless you've served in it," said General Grass, who joined the Missouri Army National Guard in 1969. He understands that the National Guard is a highly-trained, constantly ready force that costs a fraction compared to the Active Duty.
During a roundtable discussion with Soldiers and Airmen, General Grass said "you are all great and you bring such great skills from your military and civilian sides... you not only do your military jobs, but you also bring civilian skill sets to the table." This, he explained, is another reason the Guard is a critical part of the solution to the shrinking DoD budget.
Despite current budget restraints, General Grass urged members of the CONG not to worry about it too much. "We'll work through it," he said, and he will continue to press the value the National Guard brings to the defense team.
During his visit, General Grass was able to see the devastating flooding first-hand during a helicopter flight to the 233d Space Group in Greeley, Colo. While at the Greeley Air National Guard Station, the general held a town hall meeting, toured the facility and had lunch with members of the unit.
The Mobile Ground System operated by the 233d Space Group is extremely important in today's world, General Grass said. "It's the perfect mission for the Guard," he said, "we grow leaders in the unit and they stay and become experts in this complex field."
After presenting multiple awards and promoting one of the unit members, General Grass encouraged the group saying "stay engaged, maintain training and thank you for what you do."