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    Graham, Leahy: National Guard an irreplaceable treasure

    Senate National Guard Caucus

    Photo By Johnathon Orrell | Co-chairs of the Senate National Guard Caucus, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont (left...... read more read more

    WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES

    03.03.2011

    Story by Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell 

    National Guard Bureau

    WASHINGTON – The National Guard is a treasure that brings irreplaceable skills to domestic support, to civil authorities and to the overseas warfight, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told fellow senators and senior Guard leaders here March 3.

    “A Guard unit can do more in Afghanistan and Iraq than almost anyone, because every problem has to be fixed in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “You’re a [Guard member] by day, a plumber by night … and the skills you bring to the fight are irreplaceable.”

    Graham – along with fellow co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont – commented on the relationship they have with the Guard and their plans to showcase the Guard’s talents and necessity to fellow member of Congress.

    “The Guard caucus in the Senate is more important than it ever has been,” Leahy said. “The Guard seems like a tailor-made solution for those who want to just cut the budget and for those looking to increase military capabilities, while the citizen [-soldiers and -airmen] can accomplish both of these together.”

    Graham promised the group he would to continue to build his relationship with Leahy in a bipartisan fashion when it comes to supporting the National Guard.

    “When you go overseas and you deploy, no one ever asks you if you’re a Republican or Democrat. All they see is the [American] flag on your shoulder, the emblems you wear and, for most people in the world, it is a sign of relief that you are there.

    “There’s something about the Guard that has always been special, and as long as Pat Leahy and Lindsey Graham are around it will continue to be special.”

    Graham said he realizes the necessity for budget cuts and drawbacks.

    “The budget is going to be reduced because we are deep, deep, deep in debt,” he said. “We’re going to have to start making some decisions that are long overdue.

    “You have our pledge that we will protect this budget the best that we can.”

    “We will stand up and shout to the high heavens when we think your role is becoming diminished or you’re becoming second class citizens again when it comes to equipment and training,” Graham said.

    “The National Guard does every mission there is,” Leahy said. “Now those of us in Congress will make sure you have what you need to do it.”

    Leahy added that the reach of the Guard is one of the reasons it is a reliable and affordable option.

    “We could not be deployed in all the places we are in the world without the Guard,” Leahy said. “You’re always ready during war and peace to defend our nation.”

    Graham proposed a question to the group that he felt would open some eyes if people asked themselves the same question.

    “What would happen to the country if the Guard all of a sudden said, ‘We’re tired and we don’t want to do it anymore’,” he said. “It would be devastating.

    Adding that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could not have been as successful as they have been without the National Guard, Graham acknowledged that it was only possible with the support of the families and the employers who lost their Guard members to their duty.

    “The unsung hero of this war has been our employers and our National Guard families,” he said. “They’ve gone without key employees and loved ones, and no greater sacrifice is there than that in terms of helping defend America.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.03.2011
    Date Posted: 03.04.2011 00:00
    Story ID: 66444
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 

    Web Views: 76
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