This photo is of General Craig R. McKinley. This is an article I found this morning on Google Reader. It answers many of the questions I've had about the Guard and its active duty experience since I retired in 1984.
Posted By Bouhammer on June 23, 2009
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Bouhammer Note- I along with several others who are smart and familiar about Afghanistan say this same thing. The National Guard, whom is leading the fight in Task Force Phoenix with the training, mentoring and leading of the Afghan Army and Police is the true “tip of the spear” and the real path to the end of the war.
By John Vandiver, Stars and Stripes
Gen. Craig R. McKinley hears it all the time, how vital his troops are. Before Gen. Stanley McChrystal had even taken over in Afghanistan, he made a call to McKinley, leader [Chief] of the U.S. National Guard [Bureau]. He told him that contributions from the Guard would be crucial to the U.S. mission there.
Gen. David Petraeus, head of Central Command, has already suggested they could use more of the agribusiness development teams — manned by National Guardsmen from rural areas — that train Afghans in modern farming techniques. Thirteen already are in place. And that’s just the start for McKinley.
All this activity, however, raises a question: Between home-state obligations, frequent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and a growing list of training partnerships with foreign nations, when does the National Guard reach its breaking point?
But U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said little has changed in his state since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast at a time when half of the state’s National Guard force was deployed to Iraq. The remaining soldiers had to be augmented by guardsmen from throughout the country.
The State Partnership Program — which pairs U.S. states with ally nations for training — has continued to evolve since its inception in 1993. In all, 61 countries are enrolled in the state-to-country partnership effort, including 21 each in EUCOM and in Southern Command, seven in AFRICOM territory — with more on the way — and six countries each in Pacific Command and Central Command.
Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, adjutant general for the Illinois National Guard, said all those challenges were brought into focus last summer. The Illinois Guard had a brigade in training for a deployment to Afghanistan when the Mississippi River flooded and guardsmen were needed to protect levees.
The Illinois Guard has teamed with Poland since the start of the State Partnership Program 16 years ago. Poland’s ability to deploy in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is a testament the value of finding ways to do it all, according to Enyart.