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Gen Grass visits CONG, witnesses support to flooding first-hand

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, addresses hot topics with members of the Colorado National Guard during a roundtable discussion Sept. 14, 2013. Issues discussed included budget concerns, deployments, physical fitness standards, and the value of the Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, addresses hot topics with members of the Colorado National Guard during a roundtable discussion Sept. 14, 2013. Issues discussed included budget concerns, deployments, physical fitness standards, and the value of the Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, addresses hot topics with members of the Colorado National Guard during a roundtable discussion Sept. 14, 2013. Issues discussed included budget concerns, deployments, physical fitness standards, and the value of the Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, addresses hot topics with members of the Colorado National Guard during a roundtable discussion Sept. 14, 2013. Issues discussed included budget concerns, deployments, physical fitness standards, and the value of the Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

The Colorado Army National Guard took Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, in a UH-72 Lakota, to survey the flood damage on the way to visit the 233d Space Group in Greeley, Colo. Floods devastated large portions of the state during September 2013 and Colorado National Guard members were activated to help in emergency response efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

The Colorado Army National Guard took Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, in a UH-72 Lakota, to survey the flood damage on the way to visit the 233d Space Group in Greeley, Colo. Floods devastated large portions of the state during September 2013 and Colorado National Guard members were activated to help in emergency response efforts. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, spoke to the 233d Space Group during his visit and afterwards helped present awards and promote two individuals from the unit.  Senior Airman Amber Hatfield, 233 SG, earned another stripe to become a Staff Sergeant during the event. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, spoke to the 233d Space Group during his visit and afterwards helped present awards and promote two individuals from the unit. Senior Airman Amber Hatfield, 233 SG, earned another stripe to become a Staff Sergeant during the event. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, spoke to the 233d Space Group during his visit and afterwards helped present awards and promote two individuals from the unit.  Airman Justin Donahoo, 233d Space Communications Squadron, earned another stripe to become a Senior Airman during the event. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, spoke to the 233d Space Group during his visit and afterwards helped present awards and promote two individuals from the unit. Airman Justin Donahoo, 233d Space Communications Squadron, earned another stripe to become a Senior Airman during the event. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, and Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, adjutant general, Colorado National Guard, share a meal with members of the 233d Space Group in Greeley, Colo. during their site visit Sept. 14. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, and Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, adjutant general, Colorado National Guard, share a meal with members of the 233d Space Group in Greeley, Colo. during their site visit Sept. 14. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Kinder Blacke)

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."