WASHINGTON (Sept. 19, 2012) The head of the Missouri National Guard is now the leader of the nation’s oldest military service organization.
Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, the Missouri adjutant general, was elected chairman of the board of the National Guard Association of the United States last week at the organization’s 134th General Conference and Exhibition in Reno, Nev.
He took over from Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, whose tenure included a series of legislation achievements, most notably the elevation of the of the Guard’s senior officer, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, to permanent membership on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
NGAUS bylaws limit the chairman to a single two-year term.
“My goals are simple: Maintain the momentum,” Danner said. “This is critical not only for the readiness and quality of life of Guardsmen across the country, but for the nation as a whole.
“The National Guard is the solution to the problem of maintaining a strong national defense in these difficult fiscal times, but only if our formations continue to be modernized and our family members and employers receive the support they need.”
Like most Guardsmen, Danner juggled a civilian career with his military responsibilities before becoming Missouri adjutant general in 2009. Before taking the post, he was a successful businessman and lawyer. In addition, he spent time in the Missouri legislature, serving as a state representative and senator.
Danner also has recent deployment experience. From May 2005 to January 2007, he was command judge advocate for the 35th Area Support Group in Iraq.
Several other positions on the 29-member NGAUS board of directors were contested last week at the association’s annual conference.
Delegates selected Maj. Gen. Deborah A. Ashenhurst, the Ohio adjutant general, to be the new vice chairman-Army and Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, the Wisconsin adjutant general, to be the new vice chairman-Air.
Retired Brig. Gen. Kenneth L. Ross of Louisiana will continue as treasurer after running unopposed. Col. Murray Hansen of Georgia will remain as the secretary. He, too, had no opponent in the election.
In other election results, Area III (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the U.S. Virgin Islands) returns to the board all three sitting representatives, Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr. of Florida, Lt. Col. Jimmie Cole of Tennessee and Brig. Gen. Robert Hamrick of Alabama.
Area VI delegates (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming) returned Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees of Oregon and retired Maj. Gen. Daniel B. O'Hollaren of Oregon to the board, while tapping Col. John Lathrop of California to be their third representative.
Warrant officers returned Chief Warrant Officer 5 Howard E. Touchstone of Mississippi to the board for another term and company-grade officers elected Capt. Benjamin Ruffner of Florida to be their Army Guard representative.
The NGAUS board functions as the association’s governing body. It has responsibility for such areas as the annual budget and large contractions. Members serve overlapping two- or three-year terms.
Responsibility for day-to-day activities of the NGAUS staff in Washington, D.C., falls on the association president, currently retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., who works for the board.
About NGAUS: The association includes nearly 45,000 current or former Guard officers. It was created in 1878 to provide unified representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by educating Congress on militia needs. Today, 134 years later, the militia is known as the National Guard, but NGAUS has the same mission.