Commentary

National Guard Says ‘Thank You’

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To the Editor,

(Photo courtesy of Benjamin Krain, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) Arkansas On May 6, National Guard trucks plow through high water covering Interstate 40 due to flooding on the White River.

I thought I would take the time to thank the good citizens and businesses of Northwest Arkansas for your unwavering support of our military. This past year has been an ever-evolving process of events for our local National Guard units. Our units and soldiers have assisted families who have received casualty notifications — deployed in support of national operations — and have been called to state missions in support of communities due to loss of water stations, tornado destruction, ice storm damage and flooding. Our soldiers have also helped local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as well as helping conduct search and rescue missions.

It seems like a long list but this is only part of what your Guardsmen are called upon to do in support of our communities, state and nation. Our units have also been involved in reorganization and relocation to enable us to better support federal requirements, while at the same time being postured to respond to the local needs of our communities. Many times we are afforded the opportunity to give back to the communities we live in by providing color guard details, participating in parades or local school programs, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to be as active as we would normally be in our own communities due to the extraordinary number of missions elsewhere we have been asked to support. In addition to the events I have just alluded to, our units must also maintain scheduled training events that ensure our soldiers have the skill sets necessary to meet these needs. Ninety-five percent of our soldiers are what we call “traditional soldiers,” meaning they hold a civilian job and lifestyle apart from their service in the National Guard.

This dual role as citizen and soldier poses several hardships, not only on these soldiers and their families, but also on our local businesses. Having served 26 years in the Arkansas Army National Guard, I fully understand the stress this can put on businesses, communities and families. Our full-time staff works diligently to resolve and mitigate these disruptions to our communities’ day-to-day routines. But, as of late those efforts have been stretched to the limits.

In short, I would simply like to say thank you for your unwavering support of our soldiers, their families and our National Guard. It is a pleasure to serve in this community. God bless us all.

Our local soldiers work extremely hard in balancing their dual role as citizen-soldiers in an effort to provide a ready response. We have a few openings, so if you are interested in joining our team, come by one of our armories for a visit. If you’re in the Harrison area, stop by and I will be glad to talk to you personally.

Sincerely,
Sergeant First Class Clyde Osterhout
RD NCO
HHB 1-142d FA
2810 Airport Road
Harrison, AR 72601

Thank you and all the National Guard units for the work that you do. — Richard Davis

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