A General’s viewpoint - The National Guard’s Global Mission
This month for the very first time a National Guard unit is leading a major U.S. Army exercise in the Pacific.
The Indiana National Guard, 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Lawrence, is stepping up as the main task force for a three-month leg of the Army’s yearlong Pacific Pathways exercises, starting in Australia and moving across the Indo-Pacific Theater.
Our participation in Pacific Pathways addresses a number of important challenges for the military, including the coordination and logistics necessary to move troops, equipment and supplies into the Pacific theater from the heart of the continental United States.
Camp Atterbury ramped up to serve this mission, and we will use this exercise to test our soldiers’ ability to sustain the readiness they achieved during training last summer at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
What comes to your mind when you think of the Indiana National Guard?
Perhaps your city or town is home to one of our state’s 70 armories.
If you live in the northern part of the state, you may think of the assistance we provided last fall to the city of Gary to remove abandoned homes that were havens for illegal drug activity.
Or, Kokomo residents may recall the big sendoff at the beginning of the year, when 250 soldiers from the 38th Sustainment Brigade departed for Kuwait.
You may have heard that we aided local responders to provide relief to hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Most likely, however, no matter where you reside in Indiana, you’re envisioning Guardsmen providing disaster assistance in all types of situations, from blizzards to floods, filling and shouldering sandbags from the shores of the Kankakee to the banks of the Ohio.
Whenever Governor Holcomb calls, we are ready to rescue our neighbors.
The Indiana National Guard embraces both our state and federal missions, but at times we know that not everyone realizes we do some pretty cool things besides disaster assistance.
National Guard soldiers and airmen have the opportunity to serve both their state and their nation at the same time while maintaining a life and career in their home state.
Their service affords them opportunities to participate in important missions like Pacific Pathways, where they experience the world while becoming more proficient at their jobs and familiarizing themselves with other cultures.
The discipline and leadership that comes hand-in-hand with military service, along with the knowledge, skills and abilities they gain, make Guardsmen better at their civilian careers. And Guard members earn many benefits, including help paying for education and expenses, inexpensive healthcare and low-cost life insurance.
At present, the Office of the Adjutant General is most focused on the fields of cyber and electronic warfare.
In conjunction with those strategic priorities, we have collaborated with Ivy Tech to operate the Muscatatuck Cyber Academy, which beginning in August will hold its inaugural class at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex.
Muscatatuck, which includes a well-integrated and managed cyber-physical environment or “CyberTropolis” and an electromagnetic effects system, is the Department of Defense’s largest urban training complex.
Both military and civilian students will be immersed in this cutting-edge environment and able to earn certifications that will enable them to embark on civilian and military career paths in the fields of cyber and electronic warfare.
Around 13,500 military members make up our ranks, so when you think of the Indiana National Guard, you may be thinking of a daughter or son, a husband or wife, a neighbor, coworker or friend.
Please remember when you think of us that we’re serving globally as well as locally, and we’re building, modernizing and maintaining a fighting force that is agile and able to serve worldwide.