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    PA National Guard leaders visit deployed members of 28ID in Kuwait

    PA National Guard leaders visit deployed members of 28ID in Kuwait

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Thomas Bixler | CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Pennsylvania's top two military leaders recently flew to Kuwait...... read more read more

    By Staff Sgt. Thomas Bixler
    28th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan Public Affairs

    CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Pennsylvania's top two military leaders recently flew to Kuwait to learn about the mission of Pennsylvania Guard members deployed to the Gulf region. The Adjutant General, Air Force Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, and Senior Enlisted Advisor - Joint, Command Sgt. Maj. Harry Buchanan visited Task Force Spartan troops August 2-3.

    Task Force Spartan is currently led by the headquarters battalion of 28th Infantry Division, a Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit. The nearly 9,000-member strong task force is responsible for interoperability and deterrence of aggression in the Gulf region of Southwest Asia. That explains the interest the two have in visiting the unit, but the reasons for the trip and the benefits of the time spent are a lot less ceremonial, but far more intentional.

    "I'm no longer the person on the ground where the rubber meets the road, doing the mission. You guys do that mission," Carrelli told the troops. "The further away I get from that, the more disconnected I get, so the sergeant major and I take every opportunity we can to see soldiers and airmen actually doing their jobs. It's important for us to stay connected and see what you're actually doing."

    There is also secondary training value in senior leaders spending time with troops. Carrelli noted that a lot of Task Force Spartan soldiers are performing duties on par with U.S. Department of State-level work such as being part of negotiations with other countries' militaries and working with embassies. As a senior leader, Carrelli poses questions to himself regarding this observation.

    "How do we prepare for that? How do we better prepare our soldiers? We're lucky that we have great, smart, innovative people in our ranks and they come here and they just adapt to it and they're doing a great job. Next time, maybe there's something better we can do to prepare them for something like this," said Carrelli.

    Their visit allowed them to gain perspective on what their soldiers are doing and how they are doing it. Carrelli said the benefit of this is that when they go before the legislature, the senior leaders of the National Guard Bureau, or even the governor they have a first-hand account directly from troops on the ground.

    Buchanan believes this personal interest in the mission is an important aspect of the visit.

    "It lets them know that we're thinking about them back home - not just how they're doing, but what they're doing," Buchanan said.

    One such conversation TAG had with a division civil affairs officer, Maj. Amanda Harrah proved to be mutually beneficial. After Harrah described a civil affairs project that the 28th had revived after almost a decade of inactivity – a partnership with the Kuwaiti Disabled Sports Club to promote camaraderie between U.S. troops and Kuwaiti civilians – Carrelli was able to provide her historical context from his own career as to why that project had been inactive for so long. Carrelli was pleased to hear that the project was back up and running and offered assistance.

    "If there is anything you need from [Pennsylvania], if there's anything we can do to help we'll see what we can do," Carrelli told Harrah.

    She said that TAG really understood the importance of her section's mission and that he could be a soundboard for them back home.

    "I think what he'll be able to take back is that what we're doing now will have a long-term effect," Harrah said.

    Carrelli expressed many times that he was pleased with the performance of the division. In one such instance he remarked that if the deployment were to end right now the soldiers could be very proud of what they accomplished. But he also reminded troops to stay focused and to stay ready, saying that in the National Guard there is a whole different mission waiting for them back home.

    "It's not over until you're back in your living room," Carrelli said, "but soon the snow is going to be falling [in Pennsylvania] and we're going to be calling ... you're the ones who are going to be answering that call."

    The soldiers know this to be true. Pennsylvania frequently declares snow emergencies during the latter parts of its volatile Northeast winter. During state emergencies and disasters the National Guard can be called upon to assist using its military vehicles and equipment. In fact, Carrelli's remarks come at the end of a week where parts of Pennsylvania were devastated by flooding that required Guard units to employ their training and equipment to assist and rescue their fellow Pennsylvanians.

    This was Carrelli's first visit to the division since it assumed authority for Task Force Spartan April 8, 2018. The unit is scheduled to transfer authority and redeploy back to Pennsylvania this fall. The 28th is currently commanded by Maj. General Andrew Schafer and is the oldest continuously serving division in the United States Army, tracing its roots back to founding father and Pennsylvania resident Benjamin Franklin.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.03.2018
    Date Posted: 08.05.2018 02:34
    Story ID: 287284
    Location: KW

    Podcast Hits: 0

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