NGB Chief visits Virginia National Guard training sites

Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker and Lt. Col. Erik Gordon, commander of 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, observe live fire training conducted by Soldiers from the Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, June 15, 2013, during their annual training at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker and Lt. Col. Erik Gordon, commander of 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, observe live fire training conducted by Soldiers from the Leesburg-based Company C, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, June 15, 2013, during their annual training at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, visited several Virginia National Guard training locations June 15, 2013, along with Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. During the tour, he visited the 29th Infantry Division as Soldiers were preparing for a command post exercise at annual training, met with families and family program leaders at a family day for aviation units stationed at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston, toured Fort Pickett barracks facilities, observed live fire training at the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team annual training and wrapped up the trip with an orientation tour of the 192nd Intelligence Squadron and the 192nd Fighter Wing. Along the way, Grass also recognized Soldiers and Airmen for outstanding duty performance during AT with his personal challenge coin.

“You have to get out and see the troops if you want to see reality, and I saw some great training here today,” Grass told a group of Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

He thanked the Soldiers for their service, and also asked that they express his appreciation to their families and employers for the important sacrifices they make to support their loved ones serving in the Guard.

Grass explained to the Soldiers that his job is to make sure that the Virginia National Guard, as well as the other 53 states and territories, have the resources they need for both their state and federal mission.

“I know everyone is concerned about the budget, but we will get through it and be better in the end,” Grass said. “The Guard has the best product going. We are going to do our best to keep the guard in the fight, both overseas and in our homeland defense mission.”

As to the future of mobilizations for the Guard, Grass told the Soldiers that while the numbers will come down, he still sees opportunities for Guard personnel to volunteer for deployments in the future. He said that while Afghanistan draws down, there will still be a U. S. presence there, along with continued U. S. presence in places like Kosovo and the Horn of Africa, and the Guard will be a part of that.

“It is very important that we keep the dollars in place to do exactly what you are doing here now,” Grass said. “We need to keep the ranges going, and continue to have opportunities to train at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin. Having those opportunities and really go out and train at the high level is so important, but it starts right here at annual training. We are going to continue to push to get the dollars in the right place to get great equipment and keep the dollars in place to get to school.”

Decker expressed her appreciation for Grass making the time in his schedule to come and see first hand the great things the Virginia Guard is doing.

“I thought this was a tremendous effort that provided General Grass with a snapshot of what the Virginia Guard is doing and allowed him to witness some of the remarkable accomplishments the Guard has made over the last few years,” she said. “It was an honor to host the General for the entire day. It is clear that General Grass has a great working relationship with General Long, our adjutant general, who is a tremendous leader and great Virginian.”

NGB Chief visits 29th ID annual training
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NGB Chief visits family day for aviation units
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NGB Chief observes 116th IBCT live fire training Gen. Frank J.
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NGB Chief visits Fort Pickett
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NGB Chief visits 192nd Fighter Wing
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