The Paulsen Perspective: Mission Focused, Warrior Ready

SpeakerKP

This week the Legislature invited Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, the adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, to deliver his annual Condition of the Guard address.  As Maj. Gen. Orr reported, the Iowa Guard “continues to be Mission Focused and Warrior Ready.”

In his speech, Maj. Gen. Orr highlighted the effectiveness of the Home Base Iowa program which was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor last year.  This program was a series of bills to honor the commitments of Iowa’s valuable service men and women and to attract veterans back to Iowa, giving them opportunities to be successful when they return home.  Some measures included in this package were:  a military pension income tax exemption, directing Iowa’s occupational licensing boards to adopt rules allowing for credit for military training in their process, and allowing private sector employers to grant a preference in hiring and promoting veterans.

(Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Chad Nelson, Iowa National Guard)

(Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Chad Nelson, Iowa National Guard)

Maj. Gen. Orr reported that more than 1,000 veterans have utilized the Home Base Iowa initiative, citing real-life examples of soldiers who’ve returned from duty, taken advantage of the program and are now thriving in Iowa, making our communities across the state even better.

Additionally, Orr emphasized the expertise and skill members of the Iowa National Guard exhibit.  According to Orr, more than 22 percent of the Guard’s basic training, advanced individual training or technical school graduates are either honor or distinguished graduates, on the Commandant’s List or in the top 10 percent of their respective military schools.  He also highlighted the numerous awards Iowa units and individuals received in 2014 including:

-The 185th Air Refueling Wing received the Mobility Air Force Fuel Efficiency Award for KC-135 aircraft, which is awarded to only one Air Force unit annually for superior fuel efficiency.

-Maj. David Messerli was selected as the best Special Branch Officer recruiting in the Army National Guard, first out of all 54 states and territories.

-Cap. Kathy Barton was selected as a General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award recipient, one of just 28 company grade officers chosen across the entire U.S. Army.

I’ve had constituents ask me why the Iowa National Guard members are so frequently deployed.  I understand the readiness of our units often exceeds the readiness of several active duty units.  While it is never desirable to have them deployed, Iowans should be very proud of the men and women who make up the Iowa National Guard and their leaders.  We are thankful for the countless sacrifices they make defending our great nation and we value the service and pride they bring to our state.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at kraig.paulsen@legis.iowa.gov or (515) 281-3521.

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