News: Command Sgt. Maj. Conley visits the Georgia Army National Guard
Story by Maj. Will Cox
MARIETTA, Ga. - Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk Conley from the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C., toured facilities and ongoing training of the Georgia Army National Guard in May. He spent time with Georgia’s Army National Guard’s Command Team, Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard and Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Stringfield before going to watch airborne sustainment operations where Georgia Guardsmen jumped out of Georgia Army National Guard helicopters.
“Today’s National Guard deployed into combat and holds the same standards as their active duty counterparts. We are an operational reserve,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk Conley, command sergeant major for the Army National Guard. He continued, “The soldiers I talk to today tell me that they want to deploy. All of them enlisted or re-enlisted in the National Guard since 9/11 wanting the deployment experience their leaders have. If we don’t give them the opportunity to train or conduct mission around the world, it is going to be hard to keep them in our ranks.”
While out at Paulding County Airport WSB-CH2 interviewed Command Sgt. Maj. Conley while covering the airborne operations. Their first questions concerned today’s National Guardsmen.
“What makes the National Guard so special is the citizen-soldier. Every one of those soldiers has a story to tell and a reason they chose the hard, hard job of managing two careers. They are the real American heroes. Georgia Guardsmen are just like the ones all around the country trained, ready, and in their communities willing to respond when needed.” said Conley. He continued,” and I too am a citizen soldier. I was a physics and chemistry teacher before I put on the uniform full time for the National Guard and once I finish this job I will go back to being a teacher; but if called I will gladly put the uniform on once again.”
The questions went from guardsmen to how the National Guard is prepared to respond to a terrorist event.
“The National Guard is ready to respond to a terrorist event just like they are ready to respond to any domestic emergency. Everyone saw the immediate response in the Boston Marathon Bombing, our National Guardsmen were climbing over the railing in uniform within seconds to help the wounded and clear debris,” said Conley.
The Georgia Army National Guard (GARNG) consists of more than 11,100 citizen-soldiers training in more than 65 hometown armories and regional facilities across the state. Georgia’s Army Guard has the sixth largest authorized end strength allocation in the nation, comprised of combat, combat support and combat service support units.
The organization’s mission is to provide well trained and motivated forces to the governor and combatant commanders in order to support unified land operations – Offensive, defensive, stability and civil support. Currently they have about 850 soldiers deployed and will deploy just over 600 more by the year end representing all five major subordinate commands to Afghanistan and the Country of Georgia. The Georgia Army National Guard is also supporting 21 Overseas Deployment Training opportunities with 130 soldiers to countries like El Salvador, Cameroon, Canada, Bennin, Germany, and South Africa. In addition to overseas operations in 2013, GARNG Guardsmen will provide support to the Office of Homeland Security on the border in Texas to safeguard our citizens. The GARNG will continue to be ready to support those in need like they did in 2012 with Hurricane Sandy relief, as well as support to the Republican and Democrat National Conventions.