National Guard March 2012 : Page 40

STATE ROUNDUP Not Your Typical Recruit One recent Georgia Guard enlistee may be new to the U.S. armed forces, but he’s no stranger to military service 40 here aren’t many typical recruits at the army national Guard’s GeD-Plus program at Camp robinson in north Little rock, ark. most have faced challenges in life that prevented them from getting a high school diploma. Pvt. Daniel J. houten, who recently received his General educational De-velopment (GeD) degree from the program, is also different in the route he took to overcome his challenges. houten grew up in an affluent Or-thodox Jewish family in Brooklyn, n.y. While he had many opportuni-ties, he did not succeed in high school and eventually dropped out. he spent time wandering the Cali-fornia coast, not sure where life would T | Na tional Guard

State Roundup

Not Your Typical Recruit<br /> <br /> One recent Georgia Guard enlistee may be new to the U.S. armed forces, but he’s no stranger to military service<br /> <br /> There aren’t many typical recruits at the army national Guard’s Ged-Plus program at Camp robinson in north Little rock, ark.<br /> <br /> Most have faced challenges in life that prevented them from getting a high school diploma.<br /> <br /> Pvt. Daniel J. houten, who recently received his General educational Development (GeD) degree from the program, is also different in the route he took to overcome his challenges.<br /> <br /> Houten grew up in an affluent Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn, n. y. While he had many opportunities, he did not succeed in high school and eventually dropped out.<br /> <br /> He spent time wandering the California coast, not sure where life would Take him. He thought about joining the army, but didn’t have the GeD or high school diploma required to make that possible.<br /> <br /> But during a conversation with a friend, he learned about a program that allowed any Jewish person regardless of citizenship to join the Israeli Defense Forces.<br /> <br /> Houten found out that he didn’t need to be a citizen or have a diploma to serve in the IDF. Although his religious faith had diminished somewhat, he still identified himself as a Jew and felt strong connections to Israel, the homeland of his religion.<br /> <br /> He flew to tel aviv in September 2009. By December, houten was in IDF basic training. His training class was composed of Jewish men and women from all over the globe. He and his fellow recruits completed Course Ivrit, a combination of a hebrew language and basic training.<br /> <br /> “We [weren’t allowed to] speak english,” said houten. “the commanders wouldn’t speak anything but hebrew to us. It was a good transition though, because there I was serving in the Israeli military and I was immersed in hebrew.” <br /> <br /> after basic training, he went to school to learn an occupational skill as a machanai nagmash, an m113 armored personnel carrier mechanic, in the nachal Infantry Brigade’s 933rd Battalion.<br /> <br /> During his first few days on the job, houten found a mentor who took him under his wing for the next year and a half.<br /> <br /> “my commander, an outstanding Israel army noncommissioned officer named yoni, taught me a lot, and not just about m113s,” said houten. “I don’t know if he realized it, but a lot of my self confidence I gained from him as a role model.” <br /> <br /> as he matured professionally, the Young man who had lost faith in his faith also experienced a religious awakening.<br /> <br /> “Being in Israel brought me back a little closer to Judaism,” said houten. “I had gone to California because I was having arguments with my parents. I had really pushed myself about as far away from Judaism as I could.” <br /> <br /> When his enlistment period was up, houten was asked to make aliya, the process in which Jews from other nations become Israeli citizens based on the Israeli Law of return.<br /> <br /> “I wanted to sign on more time to my obligation,” said houten. “But I decided not to get dual citizenship until I was absolutely sure that I am ready. As much as I feel a great affinity for Israel, I was born in Brooklyn. I’m An american boy, but I do miss Israel.” <br /> <br /> houten returned to the United States last summer and moved in with one of his friends from Israel.<br /> <br /> Once again houten felt the need to do something with his life and answered that urge by calling the local army Guard recruiting office. He joined the Georgia army Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat team.<br /> <br /> But before he could begin basic combat training, he needed his GeD. He scored in the top 10 percent of his class.<br /> <br /> “I know there are people out there who look down on a GeD as something less, but I think that’s ridiculous. If anything, a GeD is harder to get,” <br /> <br /> houten said. “Because that means instead of going to school like everyone Else, you have to get yourself motivated and go out and do it.” houten arrived at Fort Benning, Ga., in January and reported for basic and advanced individual training. After graduation, he wants to attend army ranger School.<br /> <br /> —By Capt. Kyle Key <br /> <br /> South Carolina<br /> <br /> Lesson Learned: UAE Officials Take a Look at Their Future<br /> <br /> Members of a military delegation from the United arab emirates traveled to South Carolina last month to learn more about the national Guard.<br /> <br /> South Carolina Guard leaders took them on a tour of mcentire Joint national Guard Base and mcCrady training Center, both in eastover, S.C., to learn more about Guard operations. The delegation also visited the national Guard Bureau.<br /> <br /> The Uae has a strong interest in establishing a reserve force, so Crown Prince abu Dhabi mohammed bin Zayed directed his military advisor, maj. Gen. Ali al-Kaabi, to see how it works in the United States.<br /> <br /> Gen. Craig r. mcKinley, the nGB chief, recommended the South Carolina Guard for al-Kaabi’s trip because of the quality of forces, the deep roots In local communities and the strong leadership.<br /> <br /> The significant experience of the 169th Fighter Wing and its F-16s in the Uae also was a contributing factor.<br /> <br /> Al-Kaabi and his staff received briefings on Guard capabilities, operations, civil support teams, training, schools, and family and troop care.<br /> <br /> “this visit to the national Guard Bureau and South Carolina was only the first step in coordination between U. S. and Uae national Guard programs,” said Col. Abdel rahman Ibrahim almazmi, defense, military, naval and air attaché of the Uae embassies in the U.S. and Canada. “We hope we will have many other opportunities to visit in the future.” <br /> <br /> —By Capt. Marvin J. Baker<br /> <br /> Iowa <br /> Dutch Air Force Fighter Jets ‘Go Guard’ for New Paint Jobs <br /> <br /> airmen at the air national Guard Paint Facility in Sioux City, Iowa, are responsible for the paint jobs on hundreds of Guard aircraft.<br /> <br /> Now, they’re expanding their portfolio to include planes from overseas.<br /> <br /> With the completion of a repaint job on a royal Dutch air Force F-16, the facility has now gone international.Iowa Dutch Air Force Fighter Jets ‘Go Guard’ for New Paint Jobs airmen at the air national Guard Paint Facility in Sioux City, Iowa, are responsible for the paint jobs on hundreds of Guard aircraft.<br /> <br /> Now, they’re expanding their portfolio to include planes from overseas.<br /> <br /> With the completion of a repaint job on a royal Dutch air Force F-16, the facility has now gone international.<br /> <br /> The facility is scheduled to repaint several more Dutch jets in the coming months.<br /> <br /> Dutch Lt. Col. Maurice Schomk, the commander of the Dutch attachment at the 162nd Fighter Wing in tucson, ariz., completed a final inspection of the first repainted jet last month and was pleased with the results.<br /> <br /> “I know what the jet looked like before, and I saw all the faces of the people who first inspected the jet,” Schomk said. “my first impression walking in here is that I am standing here looking at a new jet.”<br /> <br /> The paint facility is co-located with the Iowa air Guard’s 185th air refueling Wing. It was established in 2000 to serve the air Guard’s painting needs. Painters have since worked on more than 500 aircraft, including F-16s, a-10 thunderbolt Iis, and F-15 eagles.<br /> <br /> To save time and money, the facility uses a process called “scuff, sand and paint,” said Command Chief master Sgt. Dave miller, the facility manager and the 185th’s senior nCO.<br /> <br /> “Instead of sending the jets out to get completely stripped and painted, our methods cost about a third of the price and takes half the time,” he said.<br /> <br /> While the paint facility employees are quite familiar with painting F-16s, the Dutch aircraft presented some unique challenges.<br /> <br /> Unlike the U.S. F-16, which features a two-tone grey body with black markings, the Dutch Viper boasts a three-tone grey with seven different colors for markings.<br /> <br /> The Dutch fighters also have several more markings, including a bright red, white, blue and orange Dutch emblem located near the exhaust and on the wings.<br /> <br /> —By Staff Sgt. Richard Murphy<br /> <br /> Hawaii <br /> Snow Men: Unfamiliar Climate Tests Warm-Weather Soldiers <br /> <br /> the 93rd Civil Support team joined the Colorado national Guard’s 8th Cst in January to train on coldweather survival tactics as part of its Support role for the Winter X Games in aspen, Colo.<br /> <br /> The instruction focused on areas vital to survival in the snow, including land navigation, snow shelter construction, first-aid and building a fire in deep snow conditions.<br /> <br /> “We don’t get this kind of cold weather survival training in hawaii,” said Staff Sgt. Noah raymond of the 93rd. “however, we are not just stationed in hawaii. We’re mobile, too. So, it’s really good stuff to know.” <br /> <br /> many of the hawaiian Guardsmen had never experienced high-altitude mountain terrain.<br /> <br /> “We have mountains in hawaii, but nothing like here,” Laurel said. “We wanted to expose our team to cold and snow. The training that’s being provided to our team by the [5th Battalion,] 19th Special Forces Group has been tremendously fantastic.”<br /> <br /> In november 2011, the 8th Cst provided support to the hawaiians during the asia-Pacific economic Conference in hawaii.<br /> <br /> “this is a bit of reciprocity for us to be able to come out here and support the Colorado team after they helped us last month,” said Lt. Col. Joe Laurel, the commander of the 93rd Cst. “We’re thrilled to be able to come out to Colorado and work with the Colorado national Guard and support them.”<br /> <br /> South Dakota <br /> Dream Fulfilled: Guard Airman Selected Miss Rodeo USA 2012<br /> <br /> A member of the 114th Fighter Wing is the new miss rodeo Usa.<br /> <br /> Staff Sgt. Trisha Smeenk won the crown in conjunction with the International Finals rodeo in Oklahoma City on Jan. 15.<br /> <br /> She will travel across the United States and Canada during her reign representing the miss rodeo Usa organization and the International Professional rodeo association.<br /> <br /> “I competed in my first rodeo at age 5 and the rest is history,” <br /> <br /> Smeenk said. “I find myself now 24 years old and still as much in love with the sport of rodeo as I have ever been.” Smeenk has served in the South Dakota air national Guard for seven years and is currently a journalist with the 114th.<br /> <br /> A graduate student, she will now take time off from her studies at South Dakota State University where she is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling and human resource development.<br /> <br /> “It is a goal of mine to accomplish a master’s degree, but I can’t imagine a better reason to put that dream on hold,” she said. “I will be living out another dream of mine in the meantime.” <br /> <br /> In addition to rodeos, she will visit several schools and other events while promoting the Ipra.<br /> <br /> —By Master Sgt. Nancy Ausland<br /> <br /> Tennessee <br /> Family Affair: Mother, Daughter Serve at Kuwait Dining Facility<br /> <br /> A mother and daughter have teamed up to help feed U.S. troops in Kuwait.<br /> <br /> Spc. Theresa Stoner and Spc. Crystal Stoner, both food service specialists with the tennessee army national Guard’s 230th engineer Battalion, are assigned to the dining facility at Camp arifjan, Kuwait.<br /> <br /> The Stoners are no strangers to deployment. They come from a family of service members.<br /> <br /> Crystal’s father, an infantryman, spent much of 2009 and 2010 in Iraq.And her brother is also in the Guard.<br /> <br /> Theresa had doubts initially about being deployed along with her daughter.<br /> <br /> “at first, I had to admit it scared me,” she said, “but now I don’t know how I could do this without her. She keeps me balanced. I have this sense of family here.” <br /> <br /> Crystal agreed about the importance of deploying with family. She recently volunteered to join her brother on his upcoming deployment next year.<br /> <br /> “I am young and single with no dependents, and I know my brother,” Crystal said. “I want to be there for him.” <br /> <br /> theresa understands her daughter’s decision to deploy with her brother.<br /> <br /> “Deployments are always rough, and it helps to have a family member around and to have someone volunteer to go really takes the edge off,” she said.<br /> <br /> For Crystal, being deployed with her mom comes with challenges.<br /> <br /> “Because I am the child, sometimes people will say to me, ‘you have your mom here,’ and give me a hard time when I go out to the movies,” Crystal said. “Once the movie is over, my friends ask me if I need to get back home to my mom.” <br /> <br /> —By Staff Sgt. Regina Machine<br /> <br /> Vermont <br /> Army Guard Musicians Finally Recognized for WWII Actions <br /> <br /> It took about seven decades, but 40th army Band finally was recognized for its actions during its last combat deployment.<br /> <br /> The Vermont army national Guard band recently received battle streamers for its guidon for accomplishments in the northern Solomon Islands Campaign and the Battle of Luzon in October<br /> <br /> 1942. It also received the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.<br /> <br /> The streamers were presented to the Band in a ceremony at the Vermont statehouse in montpelier.<br /> <br /> According to a report by the associated Press, longtime band member Sgt. Brett Goertemoeller dug through historical accounts and records in order to substantiate the unit’s claim to the streamers and citation.<br /> <br /> The 40th was part of a force being sent across the Pacific when the troop transport it was on struck mines near the island of espiritu Santo and was grounded. The band lost its entire musical equipment inventory when it abandoned ship.<br /> <br /> Goertemoeller said the unit’s then- 31 members received various awards for their World War II service, including several Silver and Bronze stars and 26 Purple hearts.<br /> <br /> Like many Guard bands of the time, it fought as a combat unit first and played music as a band second during the war.<br /> <br /> “It’s meant a lot to the people in the unit,” Goertemoeller said. “Our band has always been big on our history and heritage.” <br /> <br /> —Staff report<br /> <br /> Alaska <br /> Rescue Team Parachutes in To Assist Seriously Ill Man<br /> <br /> There was no way to land a helicopter, let alone a rescue plane, in red Devil, alaska, Feb. 1, but a seriously ill man needed immediate medical attention or he would die.<br /> <br /> Faced with low visibility and frigid temperatures, a rescue team of tech. Sgt. Jeremy maddama and tech. Sgt. Dan Warren did the only thing they could. They strapped on their 60-pound packs in the dead of night and parachuted in to treat the man.<br /> <br /> The alaska air national Guard’s 210th, 211th and 212th rescue squadrons had been alerted that a 20-year-old man in red Devil was suffering from extreme pain and vomiting following a surgical endoscopy and required immediate medical attention.<br /> <br /> Within 90 minutes, an hh-60 Pave hawk helicopter and an hC-130 King aircraft were on the way to red Devil. But low cloud cover and bad weather Prevented the Pave hawk from reaching the small town about 250 miles from anchorage.<br /> <br /> After several attempts, the pilots were forced to return to Joint Base elmendorf-richardson. The hC-130, also hindered by low visibility, finally spotted a site where they could drop in the rescue team as the plane was running out of fuel.<br /> <br /> From 3,000 feet, the team of maddama, an air Guardsman from the 212th, and Warren, a member of the 308th rescue Squadron from Patrick air Force Base, Fla., jumped into blowing wind and temperature 15 degrees below zero.<br /> <br /> When they got to the patient, his condition was bad enough that doctors believed he would need surgery.<br /> <br /> Weather conditions remained poor, so the team spent the night in red Devil, repeatedly checking on the patient until a Pave hawk was able to get through the weather the next day.<br /> <br /> “he would have gone into septic shock within 48 hours if he wasn’t treated,” maddama said. “Sergeant Warren did a great job as the medic and it took all three squadrons to execute this mission.” <br /> <br /> —By Maj. Guy Hayes<br /> <br /> Oklahoma <br /> Operation Validates Company’s Efforts in Remote Afghan Valley <br /> <br /> Sometimes a mission can be successful even it if doesn’t achieve its stated objectives.<br /> <br /> Just ask Capt. Jason taylor, the commander of Company a, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry, part of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat team deployed to eastern afghanistan.<br /> <br /> His Oklahoma army national Guard company and elements of the afghanistan national army set out Jan. 28 on a three-day mission, dubbed Operation aluminum Python, to clear insurgents from the mayl Valley, a center of poppy production in the mountainous Laghman province.<br /> <br /> Five platoons fanned out over the valley for three days, penetrating deeper into the area than U.S. or afghan forces have ever gone before. Led by the ana and members of Community Based Security Solutions (CBS2), a neighborhood policing program, they searched villages for illegal weapons and any insurgents who might be hiding.<br /> <br /> They didn’t find any, but that shouldn’t be considered a failure, taylor said.<br /> <br /> “In the larger context,” he explained, “it was a sign of success.” <br /> <br /> taylor said during his nine months commanding Combat Outpost najil, he and his ana partners have met with national and provincial leaders to establish an afghan national Police (anP) presence in the mayl Valley and bring community-based policing into the mix.<br /> <br /> As a result, the police are expanding their presence and influence, and the taliban in Pakistan don’t like that because they cannot move as freely through the area as they have in the past. This has changed the dynamics of the security situation in the region, he said, making it much safer.<br /> <br /> “Seeing the CBS2, the anp and the sub-governor, and the ana out there working together, getting rid of opium, securing the routes, and stopping the killing, is pretty satisfying,” taylor said.<br /> <br /> —By Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Steele

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here