Senator Praises Guard at NGAUS Gathering

NGAUS Washington Report

(Dec. 10, 2013) A morning snowstorm closed the federal government in Washington, D.C., today, but defense industry leaders and National Guard leaders visited NGAUS headquarters for the association’s 17th Annual Industry Day where they heard a senator highlight the Guard’s value.

Photos on the NGAUS Flickr page | Slides from the presentations

“Today we have the most experienced National Guard in our nation’s history,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. “The operational National Guard today is a national treasure.”

The yearly event is an opportunity for industry leaders to get up-to-speed on Guard issues from NGAUS legislative staff and National Guard Bureau officials. It’s also a chance to learn about the benefits of NGAUS corporate membership.

Manchin, a former governor of his home state, said one of his greatest honors throughout all his years in public service was being commander in chief of the West Virginia National Guard. He recalled a trip he took as governor to Afghanistan with governors from three other states. Commanders told them what a pleasure it was to have Guardsmen from the governors’ states serving on their bases.

“It was unbelievable,” Manchin said.  “They couldn’t wait to tell each governor what was going on and how well they performed.”

Saying the value of the Guard is without question, he also touted a strong Guard as a practical and effective response to today’s fiscal realities.

“We cannot fool around with the finances of this country and get ourselves in such a bad shape that we can’t get out,” he said.  “My grandfather had an old saying that unmanaged debt will lead you to make cowardly decisions. I assure you we are making cowardly decisions as a country right now because of that unmanaged debt.”

“We better start rising above this bullcrap of playing politics and start being Americans again.”

He also said, “[The Guard] can do the toughest missions anywhere in the world at a fraction of the cost. Through the National Guard, our nation’s military can get the most active and responsive force at an affordable cost, and that is so important today with these budget constraints that we have.”