News: NC senator joins Guard
RALEIGH, N.C. – Dan Soucek is used to the halls of power. He interacts with legislative staff as a North Carolina state senator representing the 45th district and is an expert in international relief with Samaritan's Purse, meetings with business and civic leaders and other constituents and even breakfast with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.
Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the North Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, he had a very different experience - meeting his commanding officer.
"I always respected those in the legislature who served in the military," said Soucek.
He met his new commander, Army Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, the adjutant general of North Carolina at his office. They shook hands and spoke about Soucek's experience with Young Life, a nonprofit youth organization, and Samaritan's Purse.
"We (the guard) want you to stay connected with our youth, they are our future leaders," said Lusk.
The conversation soon changed to international affairs - an area where both men share expertise.
"You will have plenty of opportunities with our state partners in Botswana and Moldova," said Lusk. "Commanders will be looking for economical and experienced forces. That’s where we come in."
Before taking on these tasks from his commander, Soucek needed to swear into the NCNG. He stood at attention, raised his right hand and recited the oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and North Carolina.
"It is important that the legislature has first-hand knowledge of the Guard," said Soucek.
Soucek, served previously as an Army aviator for eight years on active duty, resigning his commission in 1999. He will drill as a leader in the NCNG recruiting and retention battalion.
Soucek brings not only vast civilian experience and an officer's leadership to the Guard but is also a valuable tie between government, military and community.
"It is great to have a legislator in the Guard and serving in the Guard will help me there," said Soucek.
Truly a citizen-soldier, Soucek, after being sworn in by Maj. Gen. Lusk, asked a leader in his new battalion for permission to come to the next drill at headquarters right after the legislature adjourned for the day.