The Kansas National Guard, one team with many strengths

MG Lee Tafanelli

Have you ever heard the phrases Army Strong; Fly Fight Win; Always Ready, Always There?

Slogans like these give military members a motto to follow while serving their state or nation. When I think of the Kansas National Guard, I see a diverse force of infantry, field artillery, pilots, tankers, security forces or military police, engineers, truck drivers and a host of other skills.

A good description would be “One Team, Many Strengths.” One team was clearly seen during the joint operations for the recent ice storm that involved the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, Kansas National Guard, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Department of Transportation and other partnering agencies. Every section used their strengths to keep the citizens of Kansas safe and informed before, during and after the storm. Approximately 200 Guardsmen were activated to provide stranded motorist assistance on Kansas roads and highway and generator support for electrical needs.

Our many strengths were demonstrated when approximately 150 Soldiers and Airmen, from different military disciplines, were requested to travel to Washington D.C. to support the 45th presidential inauguration. Regardless if they were Soldiers or Airmen, they were all part of our team, the Kansas National Guard.

Over the next several months, units of the Kansas Army and Air National Guard will be preparing to deploy for overseas missions. Approximately 700 Soldiers from the 35th Infantry Division, 635th Regional Support Group; 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery; and Company G, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation will be supporting operations in southwest Asia. Airmen from the 184th Intelligence Wing and 190th Air Refueling Wing will also be deploying to support other ongoing operations. Even though our missions will be at different locations, we are still one team, the Kansas National Guard.

I recognize that deployments, activations and additional training puts a tremendous amount of stress on Guardsmen and our additional teammates; their families and employers. As Guardsmen, we cannot succeed without their support and we owe it to them to keep them informed.

To the families on our team, we are here to support you. You serve a vital role in the success of the mission and I understand the importance of the role you play. Several Family Readiness Groups have already been established for the units that are deploying. Some of these groups can be joined on Facebook to make it easier to stay connected. I encourage you to get involved in these groups to support or get support, if needed.

To the employers, I understand how difficult it is to maintain a business when Guardsmen are deployed. Soldiers and Airmen, communicate with your employers! Updated information will make the transitions easier for them when you are called away to serve. Planning will not be in a vacuum. We will keep a constant flow of information for employers so they can make the plans or necessary changes.

We are doing this together. We are One Team, Many Strengths.

I am proud to be a part of the Kansas National Guard and I am proud to see how the Soldiers and Airmen continue to selflessly serve the state and nation. I know our team with their many strengths will keep adding to the success of the missions.