Winnefeld Praises National Guard

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 12, 2011 — Navy Adm. James A. Win­nefeld Jr., the vice chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised the Nation­al Guard at the 133rd Gen­er­al Con­fer­ence of the Nation­al Guard Asso­ci­a­tion of the Unit­ed States.

133rd General Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States in Milwaukee
Navy Adm. James A. Win­nefeld Jr., vice chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, address­es an audi­ence at the 133rd Gen­er­al Con­fer­ence of the Nation­al Guard Asso­ci­a­tion of the Unit­ed States in Mil­wau­kee, Aug. 28, 2011.
Air Force pho­to by Tech. Sgt. Leisa Grant
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“You are unique­ly pos­tured, both as a per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of what is right about Amer­i­ca — name­ly, self­less ser­vice to coun­try and com­mu­ni­ty — and as a shin­ing exam­ple of what we are, what we believe, and what we do in the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary for the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Win­nefeld told the audi­ence here last month. Win­nefeld spoke of the tens of thou­sands of Guard mem­bers who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and else­where through­out the world.

“Our guards­men do their duties over­seas, too. They always have and always will,” the four-star admi­ral said.

Win­nefeld salut­ed the exem­plary ser­vice of five Army Nation­al Guard Spe­cial Forces sol­diers, who recent­ly earned the Croix de la Valeur Mil­i­taire, the French mil­i­tary award rough­ly equal to the Sil­ver Star, for hero­ism.

The admi­ral not­ed that he is proud of his asso­ci­a­tion with the Nation­al Guard.

“I want to assure you that I intend to con­tin­ue build­ing on my rela­tion­ship with the Guard,” said Win­nefeld, adding he’s a strong sup­port­er and advo­cate of the Guard.

“You have trans­formed from a strate­gic reserve to one that also pro­vides oper­a­tional full-spec­trum capa­bil­i­ties to our nation, and we’re grate­ful for this,” the admi­ral said, “So sim­ply return­ing the reserve com­po­nent, and espe­cial­ly the Nation­al Guard … to [a] strict­ly strate­gic reserve role is a non­starter.”

Win­nefeld said there will be tough choic­es ahead on force struc­ture. He pledged to stay con­nect­ed to reserve com­po­nent lead­ers, and to high­light the impor­tance of Guard and Reserve forces dur­ing his trav­els.

The admi­ral also asked the audi­ence for assis­tance.

“You are the linch­pin of main­tain­ing the Amer­i­can people’s con­nec­tions with the mil­i­tary,” Win­nefeld said. “You live and work along­side our fel­low Amer­i­cans in com­mu­ni­ties. You are their aunts and uncles, friends and neigh­bors, their coach­es and their teach­ers. You, as guards­men, are unique­ly pos­tured in your com­mu­ni­ties to take the lead in main­tain­ing and strength­en­ing this dia­logue.

“So, just as we need to hear from you on the strate­gic issues you face and how we can work togeth­er,” he con­tin­ued, “they need to hear from you about who we are and what we do proud­ly each day, and every day, as mem­bers of our nation’s mil­i­tary.”

Win­nefeld thanked Guard mem­bers and their fam­i­lies for what they do in their states and com­mu­ni­ties and he also salut­ed reserve com­po­nent mem­bers’ over­seas ser­vice.

“Thank you for tru­ly liv­ing up to being all that is right about Amer­i­ca,” he said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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