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Annual NGAUS Conference Begins in Reno

08-18-23 RR Airbus
08-18-23 RR Airbus
Washington Report

About 3,500 National Guard officers, their spouses, industry representatives and the service's other supporters have gathered in Reno, Nevada, for the association's 145th General Conference & Exhibition this weekend.

Events start Friday with representatives from the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia considering resolutions that will serve as the foundation for next year’s NGAUS legislative action plan.

There are also several social events and activities that enable attendees to experience Reno's attractions.

The host city for this year's NGAUS conference sits in the High Eastern Sierra foothills near Nevada's border with California.

Golf, a hike and a motorcycle ride are all on the conference's daytime agenda. Evening events are set for the National Automobile Museum and Greater Nevada Field.

The industry exhibition begins Saturday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. A free brunch follows. 

More than 320 companies or organizations plan on exhibiting during this year's tradeshow. The exhibitors range from some of the world’s largest defense firms to small businesses looking to break into the Guard market.

The First Business/Professional Development Session begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with an opening ceremony featuring music and dancing.

Day One speakers include Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Highlights of the Second Business/Professional Development Session on Sunday include remarks by Gen. Randy A George, the Army’s acting chief of staff.

NGAUS will also present a 2023 Harry S. Truman Award to Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss.

The Truman Award is the association’s highest honor for contributions to the nation’s defense. 

Kelly is a co-chair of the House National Guard and Reserve Caucus and a major general in the Mississippi Army Guard. 

Retired Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, a former NGAUS chairman who is also an attorney, will also provide a presentation on the Guard's legal foundation.

The association’s first-ever Spouses Seminar is additionally scheduled for Sunday morning. It is scheduled for the Grande Exposition Hall at the Silver Legacy Hotel in downtown Reno and features presentations on family issues. 

Kelly Hokanson, the NGB chief's wife, and Margo Berry, the wife of Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the adjutant general of Nevada and the NGAUS vice chairman-Air, host the Spouses breakout.

Monday's events include the Army and Air Force separate sessions and the Third Business/Professional Development Sessions.

During the Third Business/Professional Development Sessions, NGAUS will present the Truman Award to Guam Governor Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero.

Normally, NGAUS presents no more than one Truman Award each year.

But the association has bestowed two Truman Awards during each of the last two years.

Full conference details can be found in the NGAUS conference app, which is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

— By John Goheen