<P>By Col. Joseph Schweickert, Army Chief of Staff </P>
<P>As you are all well aware, the Illinois Army National Guard has been dealing with major changes to our training this month due to financial challenges at National Guard Bureau. The good news is Congress has approved the reprogramming of funds, so we will still be able to conduct our IDT training Sept. 27-28. Indications are Congress will also approve a Continuing Resolution soon, so we will not experience a government shutdown Oct. 1, as we did last year. </P>
<P>I know we have already made major disruptions to your training schedules for this month and there will still be challenges with the adjusted drill dates for many of you. I appreciate everyone’s hard work adapting to these changes and for asking good questions to make sure we are not overlooking anything. We need to do a lot of coordination when we change even one unit’s drill dates. Changing all of them at once has been a major undertaking. We can only be successful with your continued support. </P>
<P>On the positive side, we are ending the training year with a lot to be proud about. We conducted great annual training events with units from every command and ended the summer with one of the best safety records we have had in recent years. We also conducted two homeland security exercises with our state partners, continuing to improve our readiness to respond in case of disaster. The support we provided to the NGAUS conference in Chicago earned praises from delegates from across the country on the professionalism and quality of our Soldiers and Airmen. These accomplishments are only possible because of your continued dedication and service. Thank you once again for serving and I look forward to accomplishing great things in Training Year 15! </P> Army Guard faces challenges,continues accomplishments
As you are all well aware, the Illinois Army National Guard has been dealing with major changes to our training this month due to financial challenges at National Guard Bureau. The good news is Congress has approved the reprogramming of funds, so we will still be able to conduct our IDT training Sept. 27-28. Indications are Congress will also approve a Continuing Resolution soon, so we will not experience a government shutdown Oct. 1, as we did last year.

 
<P>By Brig. Gen. Johnny Miller, Assistant Adjutant General-Army </P>
<P>Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bowman, Illinois Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major; Col. Mark Jackson, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) Commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Beck , 33rd IBCT Command Sergeant Major and I attended the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division’s Total Force Partnering Conference at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, May 30 to June 1. The conference was held to build relationships between the 101st ABN (AA) brigades and the Army National Guard brigades partnered or aligned with the 101st. </P>
<P>For example, Illinois Army National Guard brigades are aligned as follows: 33rd IBCT with 2nd Brigade, 101st ABN (AA); 108th Sustainment Brigade with 101st Sustainment Brigade; and 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade with 101st ABN (AA) Division Headquarters. Illinois, along with Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio are partnered with the 101st ABN (AA) and were also at the conference. </P>
<P>Army Total Force Partnering is an initiative of the Chief of Staff of the Army and is emerging doctrine to address the needs of an evolving Army. Army Directive 2012-08 establishes a policy for the integration of the Army’s active component and reserve component as a “Total Force.” Department of Defense policies require the military departments to organize, man, train, and equip their active and reserve components as an integrated operational force to provide predictable, recurring and sustainable capabilities. </P>
<P>This is new, unchartered territory for the Illinois Army National Guard (ILARNG). We have been told this relationship will provide additional opportunities for Air Assault School slots, Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) rotations, and War Fighter Exercises. Likewise, we will offer partnering opportunities for 101st ABN (AA) Soldiers during our training activities. </P>
<P>I want to encourage all commands to develop this relationship and drive to make Illinois the best partner possible for the 101st ABN (AA). We have proven time and time again how effective we can be when deployed with our active duty counterparts. I see this as an opportunity to continue our outstanding performance in this changing environment. </P>
<P>Illinois Strong! </P> Illinois Guard engages Army Total Force Partnering

 
<P>In 2011 I attempted suicide as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard. Unfortunately, I was ridiculed and the subject of the unit rumor mill for my actions. I was told I only attempted to "get attention" by members of my unit. I contacted the Illinois Inspector General's (IG) Office and filed a complaint regarding my circumstances. Together with the Adjutant General and command staff they devised a plan to add ASIST (Army Suicide Intervention Skills Training) as a priority for yearly training guidance by 2014. </P>
<P>According to the chaplain corps, as of  July 21, 2014, 459 personnel have been trained. This includes suicide intervention officers who have been placed in most units throughout Illinois. As a fellow suicidal Soldier, I urge all my brothers and sisters in arms to take advantage of these resources. To those of you who have been given this training I ask you take your duty seriously and know you have the power to make a difference and save a fellow Soldier's life. To the IG office, the office of the Adjutant General and command staff, I say thank you  for providing your leaders with the tools to help your Soldiers in their darkest moments. Your actions reflect great credit upon yourselves, the Illinois Army National Guard and the United States Army. </P>
<P>Sincerely,</P>
<P>SGT Melissa Jones</P> A Soldier's personal thank you for the ASIST program

 
<P>CAMP HINDS, MAINE - The 126th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) recently returned from a training mission to Camp Hinds in Raymond, Maine.   </P>
<P>The 300 acre Boys Scouts of America (BSA) camp, maintained by the local Pine Tree Council, provides mentorship and service to hundreds of young men who attend every single year.   </P>
<P>The 126 CES took part in the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program. The program brings all facets of DOD together to provide necessary training while providing a service to local communities.  </P>
<P>While at Camp Hinds they constructed an expeditionary encampment for future Marine and Army Reserve units, as well as other Air National Guard units, to use during the five-year improvement program for the camp. </P>
<P>In the allotted two-week training period, the 126 CES established a six-tent camp complete with power, lighting, and climate controlled HVAC units for over 75 personnel. An elevated, plywood flooring system was constructed for each tent and meticulously leveled to provide adequate support and comfort for future tenants, said 1st Lt. Matthew Boice, who oversaw the project for the Guard unit.  </P>
<P>The tent area also included a 15 foot high recreational tent complete with power and cable television, as well as an additional high ceiling tent for vehicle maintenance, said Boice. </P>
<P>“To serve the raw sewage needs of the encampment, the 126 CES constructed a 450 sq. ft. septic field with perforated drains and a stone cap with adequate surface drainage.  In addition, approximately 400 lineal feet of PVC piping along with a 1,000 gallon septic tank, a 2,000 gallon septic tank and a 1,000 gallon grease trap were all installed to serve the needs of the camp,” said Boice.   </P>
<P>Above ground, the civil engineers installed trailer showers to meet the needs of the campers during their stay.  In order to get sufficient water to the showers, a supply line was installed that directly tied to the local well for the Boy Scout Administration building, allowing for 6,000 gallons of potable water to the camp per day, said Boice.  </P>
<P>In order to meet laundry needs, a portion of an existing maintenance facility was converted to a fully functioning laundry area for camp personnel and services.  This involved running all new electric, water supply, and sewage piping to and from that area.  </P>
<P>The erected facilities allow the DOD to send personnel to the camp without using existing BSA facilities and disrupting the operation of the Boy Scouts during their stays over the summer months and for seasons to come.  Throughout the project the 126 CES exceeded the expectations of the Boy Scout leadership at the camp.  </P>
<P>The facilities that where constructed mark the beginning of an overhaul that the camp was in desperate need of.  </P>
<P>A visit from the 126th Mission Support Group Commander, Col. Jonathan Boehning, capped off the trip. Boehning was as equally impressed as the Boy Scout staff, but was not surprised at the quality work that he was accustomed to from the 126 CES.   </P>
<P>“As a testament to their skill, the 126 CES was selected as the initial unit to start the project and establish the infrastructure for all follow-on units.  I am extremely proud of the work accomplished by our Civil Engineers,” said Boehning. </P>
<P>Expeditionary type construction on such a scale is similar to a mission, known as Prime Beef, that is seldom seen outside of deployed environments.  Such a unique project was a great opportunity for the 126 CES to train on these vital expeditionary systems and implement methods that are an integral part of the Prime Beef mission. </P> 126th Civil Engineers conduct training in Maine
CAMP HINDS, MAINE - The 126th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) recently returned from a training mission to Camp Hinds in Raymond, Maine.

 
<P>By Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Hammon, State Command Chief Warrant Officer</P>
<P>As we continue the transition from the war-fight back to our origins as a constitutional militia, we must move forward with a deliberate action plan that will continually develop our force, our warrant officers, and our Soldiers. </P>
<P>It is imperative we continuously refine our technical skills, create multi-year training plans with built in performance measures, and execute these plans with fiscal stewardship. As key stakeholders in the security of our state and our nation, we must be ready to respond to multiple complex catastrophes. </P>
<P>As we strive for balance between the active Army and the National Guard, we can’t overlook the fact Illinois warrant officers shoulder the same responsibilities as our active duty counterparts and more times than not, at a higher level of effectiveness. All of this is concurrent with supporting the home front and a civilian career. </P>
<P>At less than 3 percent of the total Army, the warrant officer still has an immense responsibility to the success of the organization. </P>
<P>Balance things in equal amounts or equal amounts of importance. Family – Job - Soldier.</P> Continuously refine skills, maintain balance
As we continue the transition from the war-fight back to our origins as a constitutional militia, we must move forward with a deliberate action plan that will continually develop our force, our warrant officers, and our Soldiers.

 
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