CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Senior leadership from the U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve visited troops deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Feb. 6-8, as part of the Joint Monthly Access to Reserve Component (JMARC) program. JMARC helps facilitate face-to-face interaction between RC and National Guard leaders and their deployed units.
Among those leaders visiting was Brig. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, adjutant general for the state of Washington, and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Timothy R. Tyvan, Washington State command chief, who met with deployed soldiers and a deployed airman from their home state.
“The purpose of my visit is to thank the great soldiers and the one airman from the state of Washington for what they’re doing out here and to see how they are representing the state. I’ve really enjoyed getting the chance to get some briefs on what they’ve been doing and hear from the [U.S. Army Central] chain of command on how they think [the Washington troops] are doing,” said Daugherty. “I’m really just thrilled by what they are doing here.”
During their stay, the senior leaders shared a meal with the deployed troops and toured their working areas to learn from them firsthand how the mission here was progressing.
“I think it’s important that they actually see firsthand what we are doing and just how well we are representing our state. Especially for the younger soldiers, it means a lot to them, that senior-ranking individuals are actually interested in what they are doing,” said Master Sgt. Paul Gautreaux, who is the chemical biological radiological Nuclear and logistical specialist for the 96th Military Engagement Team.
Gautreaux has served 12 years in the National Guard and four years in the active duty Army. He said he was excited by what his unit has been able to accomplish on this mission. The 96th MET works with other military leadership throughout the USARCENT area of responsibility to create, develop and sustain important military relationships with partner nations.
Daugherty also expressed his enthusiasm for the MET’s accomplishments.
“I think that what they are doing here with the military engagement teams could really be a model. Of course, I was here during 2011 when Gen. [Vincent] Brooks was coming up with this concept. So it’s great for me to come back and see my soldiers putting Gen. Brooks’ ideas into action,” said Daugherty. “Now that Gen. Brooks is at [U.S. Army Pacific Command], I’d like to report back to him what our soldiers are doing and what they are developing here from an engagement strategy.”
He continued, “As we move out of this era of constant warfare into a period what I hope is engagement, this could really be a good model.”
While present at the JMARC, Daugherty will have the opportunity to meet with other senior leadership to compare notes and solidify the working relationship between other states. As deployments lessen, he said his state is looking to refocus its efforts on community outreach – in particular, with regard to natural or man-made disasters. He said they are actively engaged in refining contingency operations with their state and emergency response agencies; however, he does hope that his troops continue to serve a function here with USARCENT.
“This is my second trip to Kuwait. I really think this a crucial mission for the country, and I do hope that in the future there is still a way to incorporate the Reserve and National Guard component into what goes on here at USARCENT. As guardsmen we need to have a meaningful deployment every now and then to feel good about our service, something rewarding, which keeps our soldiers and airmen wanting to serve,” said Daugherty.