National Guard June 2012 : Page 48

LAST WORD What I See By retired Maj. Gen. Robert I. Gruber B efore my appointment as legal consultant to nGaUS, i was like many association members. my knowledge of how the organization works was as slight as my involvement in association activities. i rarely attended the annual conference. and while i kept informed through this magazine of events affecting the national Guard, i had no real appreciation of the large role nGaUS played in shaping those events or their outcomes. But since my appointment in 2009, i have attended eight board meetings and become familiar with the as-sociation’s organizational structure and bylaws and how leadership and staff conduct business. i’ve learned about the various entities that comprise nGaUS, to include the national Guard educational foun-dation and the national Guard insurance trust. i’ve also come to know the dedicated and talented professional staff who run daily operations to ensure the association remains on the cutting edge of service to its constituency. and i’ve shared time with ener-getic and intelligent company-grade officers, which has only increased my confidence that the leadership of nGaUS and the Guard will be in good hands for years to come. the lifeblood of an organization is its people, and our association is blessed with smart, talented and effec-tive leaders. Let me share a little else of what i’ve seen at nGaUS. overall governance falls to the board of directors. each board member is a volunteer elected by association mem-bers at the annual conference. many also serve on or advise some of the association’s many committees. this requires hours of work and travel beyond their board responsibilities. the finance committee is one of the more vital com-mittees. it works with the nGaUS treasurer to ensure the association’s fiscal health, which demands vision and painstaking work on budgets and investments. the association is fortunate to have two of the finest fi-nancial minds available today—retired Brig. Gen. Ken ross of Louisiana as treasurer and retired Lt. Col. pete renaghan of massachusetts as committee chairman. the current and immediate past board chairmen—maj. Gen. frank Vavala of Delaware and retired maj. Gen. tod Bunting of Kansas—are dynamic and visionary men who have provided expert leadership during critical times. 48 Guard officers who aren’t NGAUS members benefit from association efforts and achievements . They just don’t contribute to them. But the catalyst for this great organization is retired maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association president. a former tennessee adjutant general and past nGaUS chairman, he masterfully integrates his experience and in-timate knowledge of political Washington to give nGaUS ever-growing access to the highest levels of government to spread the Guard’s message. at board meetings, the staff provides updates on hot issues confronting nGaUS. action on proposals often is preceded by lively debate among board members of differ-ent backgrounds and experiences from around the country. the strength of the process is that the association, as a body politic, is passionately committed to making the right decisions every time about the Guard. Board members also routinely hear from the chief of the national Guard Bureau and the directors of the army and air Guard. the frequent appearances at nGaUS meet-ings by these busy Guard senior leaders offer credence to the association’s clout in the nation’s capital. organizations also derive influence from the size of their membership. nGaUS is the professional association for Guard officers. it is Guard officers working together through the legisla-tive process to better their profession. yet, inexplicably, some Guard officers don’t join. of course, they still benefit from nGaUS efforts and achievements. they just don’t contrib-ute to them. every Guard officer should belong to the association. Let me give you three reasons. first, it’s just part of being a professional. you buy your uniforms. you cut your hair. you join nGaUS. it’s that simple. Second, it’s the right thing to do for the institution. you enjoy benefits gained through the efforts of those who came before you. it’s your turn to do the same for those who follow. if those reasons fail to persuade you, then, consider a third reason: How would you answer your son or daughter if they ask, “Daddy, is it oK to get things if you don’t pay for them, but other people do? mommy, is that really all right?” The author is a legal counsel to the NGAUS board of directors. He served more than 33 years in the New York Air National Guard, retiring in 2004 as Air Guard assistant to the Air Force judge ad-vocate general in Washington, D.C. He practices law in New York. | National Guard

Last Word

Retired Maj.

BEfore my appointment as legal consultant to nGaUS, i was like many association members.<br /> <br /> My knowledge of how the organization works was as slight as my involvement in association activities.<br /> <br /> I rarely attended the annual conference. And while i kept informed through this magazine of events affecting the national Guard, i had no real appreciation of the large role nGaUS played in shaping those events or their outcomes.<br /> <br /> But since my appointment in 2009, i have attended eight board meetings and become familiar with the association’s organizational structure and bylaws and how leadership and staff conduct business.<br /> <br /> I’ve learned about the various entities that comprise nGaUS, to include the national Guard educational foundation and the national Guard insurance trust. I’ve also come to know the dedicated and talented professional staff who run daily operations to ensure the association remains on the cutting edge of service to its constituency.<br /> <br /> And i’ve shared time with energetic and intelligent company-grade officers, which has only increased my confidence that the leadership of nGaUS and the Guard will be in good hands for years to come.<br /> <br /> The lifeblood of an organization is its people, and our association is blessed with smart, talented and effective leaders. Let me share a little else of what i’ve seen at nGaUS.<br /> <br /> Overall governance falls to the board of directors. Each board member is a volunteer elected by association members at the annual conference.<br /> <br /> Many also serve on or advise some of the association’s many committees. This requires hours of work and travel beyond their board responsibilities.<br /> <br /> The finance committee is one of the more vital committees.It works with the nGaUS treasurer to ensure the association’s fiscal health, which demands vision and painstaking work on budgets and investments.<br /> <br /> The association is fortunate to have two of the finest financial minds available today—retired Brig. Gen. Ken ross of Louisiana as treasurer and retired Lt. Col. Pete renaghan of massachusetts as committee chairman.<br /> <br /> The current and immediate past board chairmen—maj.Gen. Frank Vavala of Delaware and retired maj. Gen. Tod Bunting of Kansas—are dynamic and visionary men who have provided expert leadership during critical times.<br /> <br /> But the catalyst for this great organization is retired maj.Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the association president.<br /> <br /> A former tennessee adjutant general and past nGaUS chairman, he masterfully integrates his experience and intimate knowledge of political Washington to give nGaUS ever-growing access to the highest levels of government to spread the Guard’s message.<br /> <br /> At board meetings, the staff provides updates on hot issues confronting nGaUS. Action on proposals often is preceded by lively debate among board members of different backgrounds and experiences from around the country.<br /> <br /> The strength of the process is that the association, as a body politic, is passionately committed to making the right decisions every time about the Guard.<br /> <br /> Board members also routinely hear from the chief of the national Guard Bureau and the directors of the army and air Guard. The frequent appearances at nGaUS meetings by these busy Guard senior leaders offer credence to the association’s clout in the nation’s capital.<br /> <br /> Organizations also derive influence from the size of their membership.NGaUS is the professional association for Guard officers. It is Guard officers working together through the legislative process to better their profession.<br /> <br /> Yet, inexplicably, some Guard officers don’t join. Of course, they still benefit from nGaUS efforts and achievements. They just don’t contribute to them.<br /> <br /> Every Guard officer should belong to the association. Let me give you three reasons.<br /> <br /> First, it’s just part of being a professional. You buy your uniforms. You cut your hair. You join nGaUS. It’s that simple.<br /> <br /> Second, it’s the right thing to do for the institution. You enjoy benefits gained through the efforts of those who came before you. It’s your turn to do the same for those who follow.<br /> <br /> If those reasons fail to persuade you, then, consider a third reason: How would you answer your son or daughter if they ask, “Daddy, is it oK to get things if you don’t pay for them, but other people do? Mommy, is that really all right?”<br /> <br /> The author is a legal counsel to the NGAUS board of directors. He served more than 33 years in the New York Air National Guard, retiring in 2004 as Air Guard assistant to the Air Force judge advocate general in Washington, D.C. He practices law in New York.

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