Edward G. Rendell
The Adjutant General
Jessica L. Wright
Final Roll Call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Operation Steel Hammer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Tall tail tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Governor Daughters of Molly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Edward G. Rendell
Lore, love and lasting legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
The Adjutant General
Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright PA DMVA welcomes newcomers to Hall of Fame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Executive Editor/State Public Affairs Officer Curator’s Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Lt. Col. Christopher Cleaver
Ounce of prevention, pounds of support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
1st Lt. Jay Ostrich Tales from Abroad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
State Public Affairs Staff No Soldier Left Behind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Capt. Cory Angell
Sgt. Damian Smith
Spc. Matt Jones
State Public Affairs Office
Pennsylvania National Guard
From The Adjutant General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Fort Indiantown Gap Guardians on Guard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Annville, PA 17003 Army Newsmakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
www.dmva.state.pa.us Air Newsmakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Veterans Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
ON THE COVER:
Bob Ulin, Publisher During the American Revolution, a brave Keystone woman
Susan Harrington, Editor named Molly Pitcher launched herself into battle and into
Gloria Schein, Art Director the annals of history as America’s first female
Darrell George, Advertising Sales noncommissioned officer. Find out on Page 14 how these
Toll Free: (866) 562-9300 “Daughters of Molly,” are still breaking down barriers and
setting new standards 270 years later in the Pennsylvania
Fax: (907) 562-9311
This unofficial magazine is an authorized endorsement by the State of Pennsylvania, and public officials, better informed on the
publication for members of the Pennsylvania Pennsylvania National Guard, DoD, AQP issues and events affecting the Pennsylvania
National Guard. Contents of the magazine are Publishing Inc., the Department of the Army National Guard.
not necessarily the official view of, or and/or the Air Force or the publisher of this Editorial content is edited, prepared and
endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the magazine of the firms, products or services provided by the Office of Public Affairs, JFHQ-
Department of Defense, Department of the advertised. PA. All photographs and graphic devices are
Army and/or the Air Force or the Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Guardians magazine is copyrighted to the Pennsylvania National
National Guard. The appearance of advertis- published by the Pennsylvania National Guard Guard, unless otherwise indicated.
ing in this publication does not constitute to keep its members, the Guard command
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 1
FROM THE ADJUTANT GENERAL
Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright
As we approach the holiday season and give thanks for the freedoms
afforded our great nation, we are thankful the majority of our Guard members
Please take time when you celebrate with family and friends to remember
the more than 600 in our ranks still serving in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reach out to a family of a deployed Soldier or Airman. The helping hand you
provide can be especially comforting during this most sacred season.
I extend to you and your families holiday greetings and heartfelt thanks.
Chuck, Mike and I are truly blessed to be part of this magnificent team.
Jessica L. Wright, MG, PAARNG
The Adjutant General
Final Roll Call
“These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free,
under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows and the embracing vines.
They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest.
Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of
death. I have one sentiment for Soldiers living and dead: Cheers for the living; tears for the dead.”
– Robert G. Ingersoll
HARRISBURG – Two Pennsylvania Army National The Soldiers were part of an embedded training
Guard Soldiers were killed in an ambush in Kunar team assisting the Afghan national army. The teams
Province, Afghanistan, August 27. help train, advise and execute missions with Afghan
Master Sgt. Scott R. Ball, 38, Carlisle, and Sgt. and coalition forces in the region. The Soldiers
Jan M. Argonish, 26, Scranton, were on a re-supply mobilized last October and have been in
mission in a six-vehicle convoy when the ambush Afghanistan since February. Their deployed unit
occurred. was the Headquarters, Headquarters Company,
An active duty Army officer and two Afghan 55th Brigade Forward.
National Army soldiers were also killed in the As a civilian, Ball was an eight-year veteran of
attack. Three U.S. service members and seven the Pennsylvania State Police, assigned to Troop H
Master Sgt. Scott R. Ball Afghan soldiers were reported injured. in Carlisle. He was a former active duty Soldier and
“We mourn the loss of these dedicated Soldiers enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard in
and our thoughts and prayers are with the families 1992. Ball is survived by his wife, Leslie; a 10-year-
of Master Sgt. Ball and Sgt. Argonish during this old son; a 6-year-old daughter; and his mother.
difficult time,” said Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, Argonish was a correctional officer at the U.S.
state adjutant general. “These brave warriors Penitentiary Canaan, Waymart, Wayne County. He
proudly represented their commonwealth and was an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran
country and, sadly, made the ultimate sacrifice.” and volunteered for the embedded training team
Ball and Argonish are the first Pennsylvania mission. Argonish is survived by an 8-year-old son,
National Guard combat losses in Afghanistan. his parents and two sisters.
Twenty-seven Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers Both Soldiers have been posthumously awarded
have been killed in Iraq. the Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge. O
Sgt. Jan M. Argonish
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 3
Guardians on Guard
Editor’s note: Graphics
represent just some of the Fort Bragg, N.C.
recent PA Guard 283rd Personnel
Fort Lewis, Wash.
OSA – Detachment 22
The 203rd Weather Flight completed a one-year, three-
rotation deployment to northern Iraq. The forecasters were
part of the 25th Infantry Division, which was headquartered in
Tikrit, and was directly in support of the 1/17 Air Cavalry and
the 3/25 MedEvac at Forward Operating Base Diamondback.
The 1/104th Cavalry mobilized in late November for
peacekeeping operations in the Sinai Peninsula. This
photo is of the unit’s advance trip to the region to
As a CH-47 helicopter comes into a remote landing zone in monitor sling load operations. The 1/104th will report to
Nuristan Province, Pennsylvania Guardsmen prepare to board. the region in early 2008.
4 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007
Afghan national army soldiers, from the brigade advised
by Pennsylvania Guardsmen, practice firing heavy
weapons on a range near Kabul.
Kuwait Working in Iraq’s desert landscape, Tech. Sgt.
28th MP Company Edward King, 271st Combat Communication
283rd Personnel Squadron, checks the “Giant Voice” at Kirkuk
Regional Air Base.
55th Brigade Embedded
Headquarters 213th Area Support Group
128th Chemical Company
Pennsylvania Guardsmen, Afghan national army soldiers and
border police inspect an outpost on the Pakistan border after Lt. Gallagher (right) and Spc. Gerrity make some new
an attack. friends near their FOB Camp Darulaman outside Kabul.
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 5
Staff Sgt. Tom Borcky assists in suiting up Sgt. Thaddeus Krow before they begin boarding a tug boat during
Operation Steel Hammer. Both members of the Pennsylvania National Guard's 3rd Civil Support Team
By Capt. Cory Angell participated in the exercise with emergency responders from 70 local agencies.
It is a cool morning along the Ohio River and Sgt. Thaddeus put things together and see the big picture.”
Krow and Staff Sgt. Tom Borcky are suiting up and putting on Krulac said that by the end of the exercise there had been
air tanks. They are not about to dive the swift waters of the approximately 400 injects. At any given time they had 600
Ohio. Instead, they prepare to dive into an environment filled emergency workers performing missions. At one point, they
with biological agents. had eight scenarios running in three counties, making this one
It is called Operation Steel Hammer and the scenario that of the largest exercises held in western Pennsylvania.
Krow and Borcky are involved in is just a small part of this “National Guard participation included CSTs from South
three-day exercise featuring Civil Support Teams from the Carolina and Ohio as well as observer controllers from West
National Guard, 13 counties and 70 local agencies in western Virginia,” said Krulac, a retired Guardsman.
Pennsylvania. Staff Sgt. Timothy Basham from West Virginia was most
“It’s very important that we do this,” said Jeff Hogue, chief impressed with the detail of planning for some of the scenarios.
of the Rochester Fire Department and incident commander. “If you were dealing with an anthrax lab it looks exactly
“This gives us all an idea of what everyone’s capabilities and like what you would really see,” said Basham. “There is very
limitations are and teaches us how to communicate.” little that is left to the imagination.”
“At this point in the exercise we know that a lab was Joe Chipuk with Signature Science was one of three
discovered near the airport by the Civil Support Team from chemists and microbiologists who helped set up many of the
Ohio,” said Wes Hill, director of Beaver County Emergency scenarios involving chemicals and labs.
Services. “They also gained intelligence that suggested there “We will buy everything off the local market,” said Chipuk.
was a laboratory located on a boat somewhere.” “These are everyday items, but when put together properly by
Hill said they received information in the morning that someone who knows what they are doing, they can become
citizens reported people dumping something from a tugboat. deadly.”
This little bit of information brought the Pennsylvania CST Chipuk said they will build the labs so that they actually
into play. function and use “precursor” chemicals. These chemicals can’t
“We present them with what are called injects,” said William cause any harm, but are the initial building blocks for different
Krulac, the exercise coordinator. “These are pieces of informa- chemical and biological weapons.
tion that must be analyzed like a puzzle. Commanders have to “It’s important that we train them in identifying precursors,
6 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007
because some things may seem innocu-
ous to the untrained eye,” said Kolack.
“We want first responders to be able to
identify possible hazards.”
Krow and Borcky experienced this
firsthand when they were inserted in a
waterborne operation to search for a
possible lab on a tugboat in the middle
of the Ohio River.
“The lab setup provided excellent
training,” said Borcky. “It was a very
realistic environment where clandestine
labs could contain weapons of mass
Borcky said the fact the lab was on a
boat in the middle of the Ohio River
added to the training and they had to
work with the local fire department in
order to be inserted by boat.
“This training allowed us to work
with our civilian counterparts and will
set us up for success in the case we have
to work side-by-side in a real event,”
said Borcky. “Simply seeing a familiar
face makes a big difference when the
time comes to respond.” O
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 7
our destination. But you have to expect pate in an excellent training opportunity.
the unexpected when you’re carrying a “The mission went very well and we
non-standard load.” got a lot of positive feedback,” said
Apparently, a C-130 is about as non- Reep. “Anytime we can lift something
standard as it gets. it’s a good day for a Chinook pilot.
“I don’t think this has ever been done That’s what we’re in the business for.”
before,” said Reep. “But thankfully, the The reassembled C-130, which had
engineers at Tobyhanna Army Depot did previously been used by a soon-to-be-
a great job preparing the load for us.” inactive Air Force Reserve unit, will now
Missions such as the C-130 airlift be used to test the various electronic
benefit all parties involved, said Reep. communication systems developed and
The depot saves tremendous amounts maintained by the depot. The systems
of time and money by using a helicopter must be able to be transported by a
instead of trucks to transport the aircraft. C-130, so having the aircraft on site will
Guardsmen, meanwhile, get to partici- expedite the projects. O
Story and photos by Spc. Matthew E. Jones
Residents of the Scranton/Wilkes-
Barre area may have been a tad startled
on the afternoon of Sept. 14 when they
saw the fuselage of a C-130 aircraft flying
through the sky. Especially since the tail
section was nowhere in sight.
Members of the Pennsylvania Army
National Guard’s 104th Aviation
Battalion airlifted the plane in two
massive pieces from Forty Fort Airport
in Luzerne County to Tobyhanna Army
Depot in Monroe County using a CH-47
Chinook helicopter. The tail section
arrived at Tobyhanna a few hours after
The pilots, Chief Warrant Officers
Jeff Reep and Patrick Quinton, said the
11-ton payload was among the largest
loads they had ever seen carried by a
Chinook. In fact, the crew was slightly
nervous about the heavy cargo, they said,
so they reduced their airspeed and were
careful to avoid populated areas en route
to their destination.
“The load was swaying more than we
had anticipated,” said Reep, “so it took a
little longer than we had hoped to get to
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 9
MPAD to Korea, strengthens alliance PA Governor’s Unit Citation
Photo by Sgt. John Taucher, 109th MPAD
The 213th Area Support Group’s 109th Mobile Public Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Walker, 1/110th Infantry, attaches
Affairs Detachment spent their annual training in South the Pennsylvania Governor’s Unit Citation to the guidon for
Korea. Here they are pictured with their Republic of Korea Co. B, 1-125th Infantry, Michigan National Guard. The
counterparts and KATUSAs (Korean Augmentation to the Governor’s Unit Citation was awarded to Task Force 1-110th
United States Army), who worked together in a joint central Infantry June 4, for service in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. The
press information center. Their tasks included fielding phone command group traveled to Saginaw, Mich., to present the
calls from exercise media, taking part in exercise press confer- award to the Soldiers of Co. B, who served in the task force.
ences and writing press releases related to the exercise. The award will be presented to the 1/110th Infantry in a cere-
“The US-ROK alliance is one of our closest and firmest, mony in January 2008. The battalion suffered 15 Soldiers killed
and for two weeks, the 109th MPAD helped to reaffirm and in action. Seven of them were from the Michigan-based unit.
strengthen this key alliance, on a one-on-one level,” said Sgt.
Christian DeJohn, 109th MPAD journalist.
National Guard flags flying again
Specialist awarded $10,000 scholarship
A fortunate Pennsylvania Army National Guard Soldier was
awarded a partial scholarship to Pierce College in Philadelphia.
Spc. Willie Pridgeon, 328th Support Battalion, received the
$10,000 scholarship from school officials recently. Pridgeon is
currently enrolled in the college’s law school. He is the first
recipient of what will become an annual event. Peirce College,
founded in 1865, offers bachelor's and advanced degrees. The
college specializes in practical education for working adults
and offers all courses on campus in Philadelphia and online.
For more information about Pierce College and its scholarship
call 888.GO.PEIRCE, or visit www.peirce.edu.
The state environmental office recently continued its trend
of raking in national recognition by placing twice in the National
Guard Bureau’s environmental security awards for fiscal 2007.
The office garnered second place finishes in the “Cultural
Resources Management (Installation)” and “Natural
Resources Conservation (Team)” categories. Aiming to fix an oversight, recent retiree and former Joint
The cultural management award recognized Fort Force Headquarters senior lawyer, Col. Mark Fenice, tracked
Indiantown Gap’s museum and museum board for its cost down the eight National Guard division flags for permanent
savings through the use of grants, interns and retired military display at the Army’s Judge Adjutant General Legal Center in
and museum curators. The natural resources award noted the Charlottesville, Va. Fenice pointed out to officials there the
coordination and cooperation between trainers, operators and void created by all active Army division flags, but no National
the environmental staff. Guard flags. For his efforts, Fenice was recognized during the
The second place awards puts them into the Army-wide JAG’s annual conference by Maj. Gen. Scott Black, the Army’s
environmental competition that will be announced later senior JAG.
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 11
193rd SOW wins record 4th Spaatz Trophy questions regarding war and deployments.”
Tech. Sgt. Steven Leibig, 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron
By Senior Airman Jennifer Klimowicz
aircraft fuels operator, cites providing detailed, accurate infor-
Olympic great Jesse Owens knew a lot about overcoming mation to potential recruits as essential to the success of any
obstacles in order to be the best. G-RAPer. His success is shown by the 10 enlistees he brought
He once said, “We all have dreams, but in order to make to the wing, making him the No. 2 G-RAPer in the nation.
them come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, With a respectable eight enlistees to his credit, Master Sgt.
dedication, self-discipline and effort.” Mark Armstrong is holding strong at No. 4 in the nation.
For members of the 193rd Special Operations Wing, the A 111th Civil Engineering Squadron plumber, Armstrong says
gold medal moment for all their efforts came in the form of the he is interested in educating people about the “phenomenal”
wing’s record-setting fourth Spaatz Trophy, awarded recently at benefits of the Guard. “It basically sells itself.”
the annual National Guard Association Conference in San
Juan, Puerto Rico.
171st Achieves Flying Hour Milestone
Named for General Carl Spaatz, the first chief of staff of
the Air Force, the prestigious Spaatz Trophy is awarded each By Lt. Col. Don Accamando, 171st Community Affairs Officer
year to the overall outstanding flying unit in the Air National It wasn’t business as usual around the Wing July 11, 2007.
Guard. Selection is based on overall combat readiness during As the workforce arrived to execute the tasks that launch our
the reporting year and the unit’s performance with respect to mission, an historic chronological milestone was soon to be
all other Air Guard flying units. eclipsed in flight!
Factors considered in the award are: events of national and Contrary to popular belief, every action accomplished by
international significance, exercises and deployments, human the 171st Air Refueling Wing is painstakingly tracked. The
resources, accident-rate history, unit awards and community inspection and maintenance of the aircraft fleet, the scheduling,
involvement. coordination and sortie count of the missions, even the UTA
“This highly coveted award is indicative of the incredible dinner meals are recorded.
work done by the outstanding members of the 193rd,” said This concept holds true for the Wing flying hour program
Col. James E. Astor, operations group commander. “As a as well. Each minute is logged. In fact, inside information
commander, it is my privilege to work with these members who would reveal that our manning and budget are based on exe-
are so richly deserving of this award.” cuting our assigned flying hour program. Having said that,
when Master Sgt. Ed Byard, senior management analyst for the
111th FW returns from Southwest Asia Wing, notified the Public Affairs Office that we would soon
pass our 300,000th flying hour, our ears perked up!
Airmen with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 111th “It doesn’t really mean anything, but it is a big round
Fighter Wing know they have a lot for which to be thankful. number” said Byard. Closer reflection on this “big number,”
More than 200 of them recently returned home safely from an however, reveals a truly fascinating fact – 300,000 hours
Iraq deployment, the fourth unit deployment to Southwest equates to 34 years and three months of continuous time in
Asia since 2001. And a BRAC announcement that seemed to flight! Not bad for a unit that turned 60 this June.
signal the end of the wing two-years ago, now puts them at the As I visited the flightline on this overcast day with the
center of an exciting new concept – a joint interagency base. clouds threatening to open, I stood back and marveled at the
But the wing’s 1,000 Guardsmen didn’t gather the morning fantastic condition our KC-135 Stratotanker fleet is in. Today’s
of Oct. 14, to celebrate their accomplishments. They gathered historic mission would be flown on board “Freedom Rider.”
to thank the people whose unwavering support makes it I had the opportunity to chat with the crew chief team, headed
happen. “We know we cannot do what we do without you,” by Master Sgt. Joe Ferrara,
said Col. Paul Comtois, 111th Fighter Wing commander, to a and his assistant Senior
crowd of Airmen, their families, employers, local business Airman Erik Larson.
owners and other members of the community. “It’s amazing how well
we take care of them, and
111th FW home to three of the ANG’s top they’re kept up,” said
recruiting assistants Larson, a March graduate of
the maintenance tech
The 111th Fighter Wing is currently leading the way for the school. “I’m part of a great
Air National Guard’s Recruiting Assistance Program. crew, and I’m learning a lot.”
Staff Sgt. Kevin Watson, who serves as a fire fighter for
111th Civil Engineering Squadron, is first in the nation with
more than 20 recruits. Refueling our finest, the crew of a
Watson reaches out to non-prior enlistees by developing a 171st ARW KC-135 Stratotanker
rapport with parents and school counselors. He’s even takes care of filling up a USAF
developed a Power Point presentation for school counselors. Thunderbird during a recent
“You have to involve the parents and address general sortie.
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 13
The wife of a Pennsylvania artillery Soldier, Mary “Molly Pitcher” Hays-
McCauly, marched side-by-side with her husband, William Hays, during the
American Revolutionary War. But it was her actions, not her gender, that would make
her an icon of the Keystone State during the Battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778.
As bullets blazed across the hot and humid New Jersey battlefield, Molly dutifully
brought seemingly endless pitchers of water to tired and dying American Soldiers – thus,
earning her nickname “Molly Pitcher.”
As she watched her husband fall wounded, Molly rose to the occasion by grabbing the rammer
staff from his hands and staying at her post in the face of heavy British fire. For her heroic actions,
Gen. George Washington personally issued her a warrant as a noncommissioned officer – the first
such citation to an American female Soldier.
Though Molly now lies buried in Carlisle, her legend lives strongly through the eyes and actions of
the female Soldiers and Airmen who proudly serve in the Pennsylvania National Guard. As 2008 marks
the 230th anniversary of Molly’s bravery, Guardians Magazine takes a look at the daughters of Molly who
serve as a living legacy and loving tribute to this true Pennsylvania patriot and pioneer.
Flying above the glass ceiling
By Spc. Matthew E. Jones
In 1911, Harriet Quimby became the first licensed female pilot. In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the
first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. More subtle milestones in female aviation are still happening
to this day.
Almost 75 years after Earhart’s historic trans-Atlantic flight, Chief Warrant Officer Angie Harris became
the first female pilot-in-command of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
The first female pilot to fly the CH-47 aircraft in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard was then Lt.
Jessica L. Wright, now the adjutant general of Pennsylvania.
Harris has faced quite a few challenges on her journey to become a PC, but she made it clear that being a
female was definitely not one of them.
At the age of 21, after four years in the
aviation field, Harris was sent to Warrant Officer
Candidate School (WOCS) with the intention of
becoming a pilot. A month later she was sent
home when it was discovered that she had
astigmatism, a medical condition based on having
an irregularly-shaped cornea.
“I had 20/20 vision and they sent me home
anyway,” said Harris. “I was pretty bitter,” she
said with a cynical smile.
After working 12-hour nights at what she
described as a thankless job at an electronics
manufacturing plant for a few months, Harris
decided to make a career out of the military
instead. She started working at the Eastern Army
National Guard Aviation Training Site full-time
and became a noncommissioned officer. But as
luck would have it, Harris’ dreams of becoming a
pilot were not over yet.
CW2 Angie Harris, 27, is the first female Pilot-in-Command for the “I was completely content retiring as a
Chinook helicopter in the PA National Guard. She has been flying sergeant major one day,” said Harris. “Then, a
Chinooks for less than three years. Photo: Spc. Matthew E. Jones year later, I came across an e-mail saying that the
Army was seeking laser eye treatment test candi-
dates. In three days, I was in Philadelphia having the surgery done.”
It was only a matter of time before a Soldier with the potential that
Harris possesses was given a second chance, and six months later she was
given exactly that. Col. Christopher Latchford, the Pennsylvania state
army aviation officer, decided to send her to flight school again.
Harris was ecstatic.
14 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007
“It’s a great feeling when you jump in the seat,” she said. “You strap on the
seatbelt, and it feels like you’re at the aircraft’s mercy, but you know you’re in charge
of it. You make it do what you want it to.”
Harris makes it very clear that gender will in no way inhibit her from accomplishing
“There’s absolutely no gender bias (in Army aviation), but it’s almost like some females
are intimidated, because they see aviation as a male-dominated field,” she said. “The only barri-
ers I see for females are the ones created by them.”
Harris spent some time assisting recruiters, and came across many females who were reluctant to
join based on their gender. She clearly does not have sympathy for
females who use their gender as an excuse for not meeting challenges.
“If you play the gender card, then that’s one strike against you,”
she said. “New female Soldiers have to prove themselves to their
superiors and earn respect, but every Soldier has to do that.”
It takes a certain kind of person to become a pilot, said Harris, and
there are no exceptions for females.
“Some of the females I run into are both nervous and excited, but
they just run with it anyway,” she said. “Those are the ‘Type-A’ person-
alities that the Army Aviation field is looking for. It’s definitely not
for the timid.”
If that is the case, then the future of Harris’ Army aviation career
is looking very promising. O
A higher calling
By Capt. Cory Angell and Kevin Cramsey
It was never her intent to become the first black chaplain candidate
in the Pennsylvania National Guard. But, as they say, the Lord works
in mysterious ways.
The fact is, Alfeia DeVaughn-Goodwin didn’t even join the Guard
with the notion of joining the chaplaincy ranks. Her aspirations were
simply to have a successful military career like the one her brother,
Sgt. 1st Class David DeVaughn, was enjoying as a member of the
Hence, her career path appeared to be taking a standard route.
After completing basic training, she started out as a private, got
deployed to Iraq and soon thereafter got promoted to sergeant.
Then, fate intervened.
Goodwin’s “conversion” to the chaplain ranks wasn’t the result of
an epiphany, instead it was born out of a chance encounter with a
fellow Soldier she met briefly while they were both serving in the
“This Soldier asked me if I ever thought about becoming a Alfeia DeVaughn-Goodwin finds divine inspiration in
chaplain,” Goodwin recalled, “and I laughed it off.” serving with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
Still, the idea was planted. The idea of a becoming a military Photo: Spc. Matthew E. Jones
chaplain began to take shape for the Philadelphia native.
“Eventually,” she said, “I started to think it may be right for me.”
The idea of her becoming a chaplain didn’t exactly require a leap of faith. Goodwin had
already been engaged in theological studies at the time, even if she didn’t envision doing
chaplain work in the military.
As the idea began to take hold with her, Goodwin found she didn’t have to look
far for inspiration. The chaplains she encountered in Iraq provided plenty of that,
in particular, Chaplain Archer.
“Chaplain Archer was everywhere,” she recalled. “He always made his
rounds in the field to talk with the Soldiers. If there was a problem, we
(Continued on next page)
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 15
(Continued from page 15)
would always talk with him. When I
deploy as a chaplain I would model
myself after him.”
Lt. Col. Bruce Farrell, the full-time
support chaplain for the Pennsylvania
National Guard, said Goodwin will be a
great asset to the Guard.
“She is really sharp,” said Farrell.
“She’s a wonderful combination of intel-
ligence and charm. We are very grateful Spc. Kristal Ginter takes aim during a “stress
to have her as a chaplain candidate. shoot.” The exercise involves physical activity
It’s important for us to have a diverse that affects the shooters heart rate and breath-
corps of chaplains who can relate to the ing while introducing loud noise and distractions
diverse background that our Soldiers that challenge the ability to concentrate.
Photos: Joe Ketterer
Goodwin’s interest in joining the
Guard six years ago was hardly unique
except for the fact that the she called
a recruiter on Sept. 10, just one day
before the terrorist attacks that shocked Squad
the world. Despite the chaotic changes
spawned by global events, Goodwin Designated
remained resolved in her decision to
“I felt that being in the service simply By Capt. Cory Angell
took on more importance after Sept. 11,”
said Goodwin. “I wanted to be a part of As the hot summer sun beats down on
something greater than myself, and what an open range at Fort Indiantown Gap,
better way to do it than by serving my Spc. Krystal Ginter squeezes the trigger
country.” and puts her mark in the history books.
Goodwin said she looks forward to Ginter, from Lancaster, Pa., became
the challenges she will encounter serving the first female in the U.S. Army to grad-
as a chaplain. uate the Squad Designated Marksman
“It has really been a blessing that I Course, June 16, along with 18 others.
have had all the opportunities that I have “It’s an honor to be the first female
had,” said Goodwin. “Not many Soldiers Soldier in the Army to graduate the
go from private to sergeant and then course,” said Ginter, who serves as a
commissioned officer in four years.” counter intelligence agent for the Stryker Global War on Terror. The idea is to train
“I have been fortunate to have the Brigade. “The best part is just having the one Soldier in each squad to engage
mentorship of different Solders, includ- chance to improve my skills and take targets at twice the normal distance of
ing my brother who served for years in what I have learned back to my unit and qualification.
the Army,” continued Goodwin. “I look share what I have learned. We all need “The current conflict taught us that
forward to taking what they have taught good marksmanship skills in combat.” being able to engage beyond our 300-
me and giving back some of what those The course was developed after meter qualification can be required at
Soldiers have given me.” O lessons learned in the early part of the times,” said Maj. James Fluck with the
16 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007
56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. challenges of the course.
The Soldiers are trained up to 600 “My father, Sgt. Maj. William Ginter, rounds down range over
meters and at that range wind can have has served in the Army since 1987,” said that time,” said Fluck. “That’s a
an affect on the trajectory of the round Ginter. “He would take me to the range great deal of shooting and really makes
as well as target elevation and light. and we would fire pistols. I always had them highly skilled.”
“They are taught at what clock direc- fun doing that with him.” The Pennsylvania National Guard’s
tion wind can have the strongest affects Fluck said that the Stryker Brigade is 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team will
and then they must judge how strong glad to have as many Soldiers as possible hit its operational readiness sometime
that affect will be,” said Fluck. “On a qualified as squad designated marksmen. late in 2008. Until that time, the Soldiers
bright day a target will appear closer and Fluck was quick to point out that Stryker of the brigade continue to train hard for
on a dark day farther away. If a target is has more sniper slots then any other a possible deployment.
on a higher piece of ground than the brigade in the Army and that this is one “Being in Stryker provides us with
shooter, it can appear closer. If it’s of the most intense shooting courses. It the latest equipment along with a num-
located down hill, it will appear farther helps to prepare those who wish to serve ber of challenges,” said Ginter. “I feel
away.” as snipers in the brigade. lucky to have the opportunity to attend
Ginter’s natural ability and upbring- “The Soldiers who graduate this two- this course and look forward to the other
ing may have helped her through the week course will put approximately 1,200 challenges that are still out there.” O
111th FW Senior Airman Belitza Hernandez,
attached to the post anesthesia care unit
Sergeants Jenny and Katheryn Conn, 24, graduated the Stryker Vehicle Commander Course at aboard hospital ship USNS Comfort, helps a
Fort Indiantown Gap in August, making them the first females to do so. recovering patient after surgery Oct. 3.
Comfort was recently on a four-month
“It’s cool, but it doesn’t make us any more special,” said Katheryn. “Our unit needed us to do humanitarian deployment to Latin America
this so we didn’t think twice. We just came up for the training.” and the Caribbean providing medical
The sisters, two of a set of triplets, are also combat veterans having been deployed with the treatment to patients in a dozen countries.
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
2nd Brigade Headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq 2005-06.
Elizabeth R. Allen, U.S. Navy
Photos: Capt. Cory Angell
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 17
Flanked by Congressman Tim Holden and Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, the adjutant general, Brig. Gen. Eric G. Weller cuts the ribbon to open the
monument to the last remaining Commando Solo II aircraft. Photo: Senior Master Sgt. Dave Hawkins
By 1st Lt. Jay Ostrich Wright, the adjutant general. “And, who knows, seeing this
aircraft might be the start of a great military career.”
Dedicated – it’s a term not loosely thrown around when The persistence and devotion to this aircraft never
describing someone as wholly devoted to a cause or purpose. stopped even after it was decommissioned to give way to the
But for the hundreds in attendance at the Commando Solo II EC-130J model the 193rd SOW flies now. This static display,
static display ribbon cutting ceremony, Sept. 23, at Fort like the aircraft affectionately known as “Triple Cripple,” had
Indiantown Gap, it might as well been an all-encompassing lots of obstacles to overcome before it could get off the
Maybe that’s because before bombs dropped or troops “There were monumental barriers and lots of reasons
deployed in the Global War on Terror, this EC-130E, why this couldn’t happen,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen M.
Commando Solo II aircraft, was already flying over the skies Sischo, deputy adjutant general (air). “But, Lt. Col. Dave
of Afghanistan, broadcasting America’s messages of freedom. Palmer would find solutions to every single one of them and
Or perhaps it is best suited as describing the thousands of the results you see before you.”
Airmen who crewed, flew on and maintained this one-of-a- For Palmer, the visionary and project officer for the 7773
kind aircraft for the better part of three decades. monument, this display was all about leaving a tribute to a
While casual passersby at Fort Indiantown Gap’s ever very unique unit, this special aircraft and the families who
expanding park of monuments might just see concrete, steel watched their loved ones fly into the sunset and harms way.
and paint, to those who worked with Aircraft No. 63-7773, “I always encourage my students to leave behind a legacy,”
the meaning of this newest static display here goes much said Palmer, a social studies teacher who just returned from a
deeper. tour of duty in Afghanistan. “This display is a legacy we
“This aircraft just didn’t carry messages,” said Brig. Gen. wanted to leave behind for all the people who dedicated their
Eric G. Weller, 193rd Special Operations Wing commander. lives to this mission.”
“This aircraft carried our hopes, fears, our dreams and our The motto of this unit is “never seen, always heard.” With
memories. It is my hope that it will stand as a loving link to the interactive displays describing the missions flown in the
our past and a lasting bridge to our future.” Global War on Terror, this display ensures the legacy of this
No matter who you talked to here, everyone had a aircraft and its Airmen will always be seen as well.
personal meaning and explanation of why the history of this “It’s important to remember our heritage,” said General
aircraft is still being written. Sischo. “We need to know where we have been so we can
“Children and adults will stand in front of this great appreciate where we are going.” O
aircraft and get their picture taken,” said Maj. Gen. Jessica L.
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 19
Photo illustration: Spc. Matthew Jones
Taking their honored place in the DMVA Hall of Fame are, from left, state Sen. Don White; retired state Rep. Thomas Tigue and retired Brig. Gen. Richard Posey.
By Kevin Cramsey
Don White was drafted into the U.S. Hall of Fame the “proudest moment of as a key member, though Sen. Lisa Baker
military during the last conscription ever my legislative career,” during a recent now presides as chairman.
held in the United States. After receiving interview in which he assessed govern- White sees the recent scandal con-
his notice, White promptly enlisted and ment’s efforts to look after veterans and cerning conditions at Walter Reed Army
was inducted into the Army. their families. Medical Center as a sad commentary on
Some 35 years later, now Sen. Don After a stint as chairman of the how too many veterans are treated once
White has received another induction – Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency they have returned home from combat.
this time into the Pennsylvania Preparedness Committee – a tenure high- “I don’t know if we are doing all that
Department of Military and Veterans lighted by numerous pieces of important we can to help them adjust once they
Affairs Hall of Fame. legislation for veterans, their families and come back, or if we are providing the
The Indiana Republican called his members of the Pennsylvania National level of care that is needed,” White said.
July 31, 2007, induction into the DMVA Guard – White remains on the committee “I’m appalled that we’re not just rolling
20 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007
over and giving them what they need. It they left behind when deployed, White and consideration they need,” White
has to be a priority.” is not certain that all Pennsylvania said. “We have very few veterans in the
White said he hoped that the whirl- employers are “being as cooperative as Legislature, so I’m always concerned
wind publicity surrounding the Walter they should be.” about how much precedent veterans
Reed scandal, including the resignation As for the cooperation of his col- issues receive, especially when we’re
of the then Secretary of the Army leagues, White said he was pleased with not at war.”
Francis Harvey and other high-level White said he is confident that the
Army officials, would prove a catalyst for Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency
change. However, he said, that does not “As we long as we are active, and Preparedness Committee will continue to
appear to be the case. not in peacetime, these issues get thrive under the leadership of Sen. Baker.
“I was hoping it would wash the He called her a “true blue patriot” who
entire system, but now it seems that its the time and consideration they has a tremendous understanding of
had its 15 minutes of fame,” White said. military and veterans issues.
need. “We have very few veterans in
“Lately, I haven’t heard a thing.” Reflecting on his induction into the
As for the commonwealth, which he the Legislature, so I’m always DMVA Hall of Fame, White recalled
has represented since his election to the that the scope of the event hadn’t really
Senate in 2000, White believes we are
concerned about how much dawned on him until he arrived at the
doing a good job for veterans, but there precedent veterans issues receive, building on post at Fort Indiantown Gap.
is definitely room for improvement. He “My staff kind of kept me in the dark
wants to keep a strong focus on provid- especially when we’re not at war.” on purpose,” he recalled. “I didn’t know
ing the best quality care at the state’s six much about it, other than I was going to
veterans homes and at the state-run be in the company of my friends – the
Scotland School for Veterans Children. the priority placed on veterans issues veterans. I’m not really big on honors,
Another issue of concern to him is during his committee chairmanship, but but to be honored by a group like that,
job security for Pennsylvania National added that it took the Sept. 11 attacks that meant a lot to me.”
Guard members and reservists who leave and the subsequent entry of America During his brief remarks at the
their civilian jobs when called to active into the Global War on Terror to get ceremony, White humbly summed up his
duty. Although legislation has been veterans issues on the front-burner. achievement this way: “Not bad for an
enacted in efforts to ensure that these “As we long as we are active, and not old Spec. 4.” O
service members return to the positions in peacetime, these issues get the time
Hall of Fame newcomers
Brig. Gen. (USAF-Ret.) Richard Posey and former state Guard, Tigue, a Luzerne County Republican, was known for
Rep. Thomas Tigue joined state Sen. Don White as the his bipartisan efforts to achieve many legislative successes
newest members of the Department of Military and Veterans while chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and
Affairs Hall of Fame. The three men were inducted during a Emergency Preparedness Committee.
special ceremony at Fort Indiantown Gap on July 31. Among his many accomplishments, Tigue was instru-
Posey, known as the “Father of the Pennsylvania Air mental in creating the Military Family Relief Assistance
National Guard” for his defining role in its creation in 1947, Program (MFRAP), an important new program that
is also a decorated war veteran who held numerous key posts provides financial assistance to service members and their
within the Pennsylvania Air Guard and the National Guard family members who have an immediate financial need due
Bureau. He began his military career in 1941 with the U.S. to military service.
Army Air Corps, and flew 22 B-17 combat missions during Tigue is a former Marine who served in Southeast Asia
World War II. and spent 27 years in the Marine Corps Reserve. He attended
In 1947, Posey was selected to serve as squadron the ceremony with his wife, Dianne, and other family
commander of the newly authorized 148th Fighter Squadron members.
at Spaatz Field in Reading. He led an aggressive recruiting Established in 1998, the DMVA Hall of Fame recognizes
effort, and in less than two months the squadron received unique and exemplary contributions to the department
federal recognition and began training as a unit of the and/or to the Pennsylvania National Guard. This award not
Pennsylvania Air National Guard. only recognizes significant achievements, but also the honor
Posey, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Olga, and prestige an individual has brought upon the department,
retired in 1978. He resides in Camp Hill. the Pennsylvania National Guard and its members. Election
Tigue, who retired from the Legislature in 2006 after 26 into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon an
years of service, was inducted for his integral role in passing individual by the department.
laws and securing benefits for veterans and members of the For more information, please visit the Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania National Guard. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Web site at
Described by Pennsylvania Adjutant General Jessica L. www.dmva.state.pa.us. O
Wright as a “true friend” to the Pennsylvania National
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 21
By Joan Z. Nissley
When the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center opened as the Of notable mention is the center’s P.E.E.R. (Pennsylvania
Northeastern Veterans Center in January 1994, it held the Empowered Expert Residents) Project, which was instituted in
distinction of being the first newly constructed home for April 2005.
veterans within the state system. In July 2002, it was renamed P.E.E.R. serves as a problem solver for the residents who
the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center, in honor of the noted live at the Center. Members work from inside the facility to
World War II hero and Medal of Honor recipient from north- enhance the quality of care and quality of life for those who
eastern Pennsylvania. call Gino Merli home. The P.E.E R. group generally assigns
It was built on the site of the former Scranton State one member as a spokesperson for the group. Members meet
General Hospital. The old building was razed and ground was once a month where only residents – no staff – participate. This
broken for the new four-story center May 31, 1991. The home is done to encourage free dialog among the residents.
was dedicated in January 1994, and is administered by the Participating residents receive five weeks of two-hour train-
Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. ing sessions conducted by the ombudsman. Our members hold
The 200-bed center provides a broad spectrum of health- the distinction of winning the 2005 P.E.E.R. Group of the Year,
care and related services to those commonwealth veterans and the first time the award ever went to a state veterans’ facility.
their eligible spouses who are disabled, chronically ill or in need P.E.E.R. sponsored activities include: providing welcome
of specialized care such as dementia and Alzheimer’s care. bags to new residents, sending get-well cards to residents when
Staff members assist residents in functioning independently they are in the hospital, collecting food for the local food
and at their optimal level. Most importantly, all residents are kitchen, collecting new toys for needy children, holding a
treated with respect and dignity. holiday decorating contest among the units at the facility,
The facility, under the direction of Commandant Carl collecting hats and gloves for homeless men, and collecting
Weinschenk, features a chapel, pharmacy, barber and beautician toiletries for the nearby women’s resource center.
services, dining rooms and a multi-purpose room for large DMVA also operates state veterans homes in Erie,
gatherings. Outdoor areas include a courtyard with a covered Hollidaysburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Spring City. The
pavilion and a “victory” garden area where residents plant homes are available to veterans who have served in the U.S.
flowers and vegetables. armed forces or Pennsylvania military forces, released from
Through generous contributions and personal effort, service under honorable conditions and are residents of the
volunteers make it possible for the center to provide a variety commonwealth. A spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible
of activities and outings such as craft work, musical entertain- veteran is also eligible for admission.
ment, trips to big league sporting events, as well as shopping, For more information about veteran’s home eligibility,
fishing and bowling excursions. Additional volunteers are volunteer opportunities or employment at a veteran’s home,
always needed to assist residents at mealtime, escort wheel- visit the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Web site
chair-bound residents and visit with residents. at www.dmva.state.pa.us. O
22 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007
SPOTLIGHT Jean Rosar
Veterans at the GMVC have been assembling poppies for more than 10 years, averaging more than
20,000 poppies a year. Pictured above are the 2007 “Poppy Shop” resident participants along with
Jean Warner, American Legion Hospital Representative and Connie Phillips, Hospital Deputy. Photo:
Story and photos by Joan Z. Nissley Joanne Kelleher, GMVC
Italy, Africa and Morocco are some of Jean is actively involved in P.E.E.R., Editor’s note: “Caring for our Heroes” is
the places Jean Rosar has been to, but it likes doing ceramics and artwork, bingo, the fifth in a series of six articles focusing
wasn’t because she’s vacationed there. She listening to musical performances and on each of the veterans’ homes operated
traveled to these exotic locations while serv- singers, and watching her favorite game by the Pennsylvania Department of
ing as a first lieutenant Army nurse in the show Jeopardy. O Military and Veterans Affairs.
A Scranton native, Jean was studying
nursing at the Kings County Hospital in
Brooklyn, N.Y., when she enlisted with a
group of friends from the hospital who were
also joining the Army.
“We joined after Pearl Harbor. I was
never sorry I joined. It was exciting.” Jean,
89, states matter of factly. “I met a lot of
nice people whose friendships lasted.”
The mother of four children and grand-
mother to 11 grandchildren and six great
grandchildren, Jean notes that her kids are
all local and she gets to see them quite fre-
quently since she moved to Gino Merli in
December 2001. She decided to move here
when it became too difficult to take care of
herself, despite living with a daughter and
“I’m glad to be here. It’s the best place I
could be,” she acknowledges.
Prominently displayed in her cozy room,
among a variety of treasures from her past
and present, are two side-by-side black and
white photos of her husband and herself in
their military uniforms.
“My husband (Kirby) passed away in
1982,” she states. “I always wished that we
could have traveled to those places where I
served, but that never happened.” She
quickly added that she is now quite content
at the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center with
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 23
24 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007
This unidentified private is fully equipped for service circa 1899. To his right
is the pack with the National Guard of Pennsylvania markings. His wool blanket
is rolled inside of a rubber blanket in a “horse shoe” roll with the overcoat
strapped neatly to the bottom of the pack.
On his right side he is wearing a haversack with tin cup attached, and on the
left side a canteen, both with leather shoulder straps. He also wears the M-1887
Mills forty-five loop cartridge belt with N.G.P. belt plate.
His uniform consists of the M-1895 forage cap, a blue wool five button fatigue
blouse and wool trousers of a lighter blue shade and tan canvas leggings. The
rifle, cleaning rod extended, is the M-1884 Springfield .45/70 “Trapdoor.” From
the insignia on his cap, we can tell that he was a member of Company A, 4th
Regiment Infantry of Reading. O
This is the 19th in a series of historical photographs of Pennsylvania National
Guardsman of the past, submitted by Mr. Charles Oellig, curator of the Pennsylvania
National Guard Military Museum at Fort Indiantown Gap. The museum is open
Monday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or other days by appointment. Call
(717) 861-2402 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule
an appointment. The museum is closed on major holidays.
Ounce of prevention, pounds of support
By Capt. Cory Angell
The Sexual Assault Prevention and According to the 2007 Sexual Assault through.”
Response program continues to grow in Awareness Month resource guide, 526 Matters that are reported are kept
the Pennsylvania National Guard as Americans per day reported that they highly confidential in order to encourage
more Guard members become aware of were victims of sexual assault during 2005. those who have suffered from abuse to
the program’s importance. “The program allows a victim to step forward.
“The program encourages victims to make a restricted or unrestricted “In my unit, I have my daily duties,
report sexual assault crimes and to report,” continued Molnar. “An unre- but if something occurs where I need to
receive the care that they need,” said Sgt. stricted report is where we find help for handle one of these cases, my unit knows
Maj. Donald Werts, who leads the devel- the Soldier without committing them to that and that becomes a priority,’’ said
opment of the program in Pennsylvania. a full criminal investigation.” Molnar. “They also know that I cannot
“It focuses on the importance of all Molnar said the purpose for this disclose anything about the performance
service members, especially those in reporting system is to remove fears of of my duty.”
leadership, to prevent sexual assault by pursuing criminal prosecution and put “The programs level of confident-
building a climate of respect in which the focus on getting victims the help they iality has lead to an increase in reported
sexual assault is not tolerated.” need. If there is forensic evidence gath- incidents and more people are getting
Werts said there is a continuing need ered, it can be retained for one year and help,” said Werts. “However, the real
for volunteers to step forward and serve later released if the victim decides to keys to the program are the Soldiers and
as victim advocates in their respective make an unrestricted report, she said. Airmen who volunteer in order to help
units. One of the volunteers, Sgt 1st “By giving the Soldier a choice, it their fellow service members.”
Class Amy Molnar, attended the training also helps to empower them,” said Werts said that they are still looking
in August 2006. Molnar. “Even if a Soldier asked me to for good people to volunteer to be
“The training works to change per- tell them what I think they should do, I unit victim advocates. Those interested
ceptions of not only those of us in the wouldn’t tell them. It’s their choice and should e-mail Sgt. Maj. Werts at
military, but perceptions in society in it’s important for them to understand email@example.com or call
general,” said Molnar. “Sexual assault is that they have control over their lives him at (717) 861-6427. O
a very serious problem.” after the difficult time they have been
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 25
TALES FROM ABROAD
‘Honor First’ personified in 213th ASG deployment
By Maj. Robert J. DeSousa
“Honor First” is the motto of Allentown’s 213th Area in distant bases. Master Sgt. Vincent Tarantella, Renovo, for
Support Group, which was called to federal service April 23 example, runs the post bulk fuel yard with a massive storage
and is currently serving at the Logistical Support Area, area for millions of gallons of fuel. While his location is literally
Anaconda in Balad, Iraq. miles from the HQ 213th ASG, anyone driving to that portion
The booming voice of Allentown resident and liaison (LNO) of the airfield can not miss the Pennsylvania state flag proudly
for the 213th ASG, to our higher command the 316th flying over his bunker.
Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Lt. Col. Von T. George That same Pennsylvania proud attitude can be found at the
can be heard at every Commanding General’s Battle Update, premiere dining facility No. 1, which is run by CW2 Michael
starting his daily presentation with those very words: “Honor St. John. This DFAC, known as the oasis, has numerous entrees
First.” He reports to the commanding general with an overview every night, fresh baked breads and pastries and even an ice
of what the 3,000 Soldiers under the command of Col. Brian K. cream bar.
Leonhard are doing as they deliver supplies through dangerous Even the judge advocate team is split between the 213th
territory. HQ and a joint legal center known as the castle, where the
The Pennsylvania Guardsmen in this headquarters embody team provides legal support to the entire base.
their motto. They are an example to other units, whether the The heart of the operation remains at the HQ complex.
other units are National Guard, active duty or Reserve. Our Pennsylvania pride can been seen in the little things like spit
Pennsylvania Guardsmen deployed with the ASG are ensuring and polished waxed floors, newly painted cement “tee wall,”
smooth logistical planning and execution all over theater. They the new gazebo and deck built by the HHC, and a neat orderly
are making the keystone room where donations are
shine wherever they go. separated into items so
Most work out of LSAA, Soldiers can take what they
a military base with a 30,000 need and leave what they
person population, while don’t.
some are stationed in more The Operations Center is
remote locations working crowded and chaotic and the
hand-in-hand with the Iraqi various offices are small.
forces, teaching them about The heart of the operation is
the American system of our support operations
logistics. directorate headed by
One such leader, Lt. Col. Hamburg resident Lt. Col.
Greg Markert, Philadelphia, John O’Boyle. He is respon-
brings his many years of sible for the planning and
military training to the fore- execution of logistic support
front as he leads a Logistics to both individual maneuver
Transition Team. The mission sized elements, as well as
of his LTT is to train, advise maintaining and pushing
and mentor Iraqi Army personnel of the 4th Division at the corps stocks at and from LSAA. The focus is storage and
operator level. distribution of fuel, ammunition, MREs, bottled water and
Stationed at an Iraqi army base near the city of Kirkuk, the repair parts. However, the 213th receives and issues almost
team works directly with Iraqi headquarters company personnel anything to include vehicles, generators, wood, cement barriers,
and assists them in solving logistical issues through Iraqi army helium and oxygen.
channels. His team’s success is symbolic of the partnership Ultimately, this unit, which first answered the president’s
between the Iraqi army and its American team leaders. call to defend the U.S. Capitol in 1861, is doing an awesome
Other 213th ASG Soldiers are in charge of the logistics of job defending liberty abroad. Each individual is an important
incoming and outgoing Soldiers. These Pennsylvania piece in a well run machine providing the war fighter with all
Guardsmen are the first people a Soldier sees entering into the- the materials he needs to do his job. They live and walk the
atre and the person they see when the leave for rest and relax- motto “Honor First.” O
ation leave. The friendly face of Sgt. 1st Class Bruce J. Kosack
is a welcome site to those coming through Ali-A-Salem. Kosack, Robert J. DeSousa is the command judge advocate of the 213th
as NCOIC of his liaison team in Kuwait, makes sure Soldiers Area Support Group. He is a traditional drilling Guardsman who
get to their leave destination as promptly as possible with as lit- serves as the CEO of the Vartan Group in Harrisburg in his
tle headaches as can be achieved. civilian capacity. DeSousa, his wife, Eliz, and their four children
Back at LSAA, some Soldiers often work in locations so live in the Harrisburg area.
distant that it feels they are as far away as our keystone Soldiers
Winter 2007 / GUARDIANS / 27
Story and photo by Spc. Matthew E. Jones
The military has been helping
Soldiers get their college degrees for
more than 50 years, but now the
Pennsylvania National Guard is also
helping Soldiers get their General
The Recruit Sustainment Program
Learning Center at Fort Indiantown
Gap, like most military programs, was Studying the skills they will need to pass an upcoming test, student-Soldiers at FTIG’s new GED
created to solve a problem, said Staff Sgt. program go over homework from the previous night.
John Walton, training non-commissioned
officer for the Pennsylvania National instruct the Soldiers during RSP drills.” Pvt. Richard Schneeman, a student
Guard RSP. Walton was working for the The program was so successful that a and squad leader in the first class, said
RSP in the Pittsburgh area and he statewide two-week course was estab- he appreciated the one-on-one time
noticed some of his good recruits were lished here, said Walton. During those with the teacher and the small class size.
not completing high school. two weeks, students attend class for His classmate, Pvt. Jose Diaz,
Many high school students enlist in almost 12 hours per day in addition to agreed. “They’re able to watch us and
the Guard with the understanding that performing daily physical fitness sessions. see what each individual’s faults and
they will complete high school or get At the conclusion of the two weeks, the weaknesses are,” said Diaz. “Then they
their GED. Without either one, they students take the GED test. can teach us how to better ourselves.”
would not be able to advance from the “Their mission is to train for the “We realized how much most of us
RSP to their assigned unit. Eventually GED,” said Maj. Ron Humphrey, former still had to learn when class started,”
they would be dismissed from the military commander of the Pennsylvania National said Pvt. Maura Kane, also a student in
and forced to forfeit many bonuses and Guard RSP. “There’s no reason to teach the first class. “But I feel so much more
benefits, even if they completed basic them how to assemble and disassemble a confident to take the test now. All of the
training, said Walton. weapon if they might not be able to stay practice is making it ten times easier,”
Walton said he decided something in the Guard,” he said. she said.
needed to be done to keep these Soldiers Humphrey pointed out that the This class was originally funded by
on the right track. He tried using students come from a variety of circum- the National Guard Bureau and the
computer-based tutorial programs during stances. Some have had a troubled past Professional Education Center as a pilot
monthly RSP drill weekends to help and are looking to turn their life around, program and the first class was com-
train the Soldiers to take the GED test, but most were forced to leave high school prised of only Pennsylvanians. However,
but found they were fairly ineffective. early due to circumstances beyond their the program was very successful and was
“After all, you can’t talk to a computer control. quickly extended to Guard members in
when you have a question, so we felt it “We are not only helping keep them New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia,
was important to have a teacher,” said from going down a bad road, but we are Maryland and Washington, D.C., said
Walton. putting them on a good road where they Spc. Stephen Mays, class instructor.
Sgt. Stephen Zupsic, who worked will be successful in life,” said Humphrey. The success rate continued to
with Walton at the time, was married to “Even if they aren’t successful the first improve and the program, still based at
a teacher. She was generous enough to time, we will stick with it. We’re com- Fort Indiantown Gap, has since been
take the time to come in during RSP mitted to our fellow Soldiers, and we opened up to the entire country.
drill weekends and train the Soldiers for don’t ever want to leave a Soldier behind. From a modest tutoring effort, to a
the GED test, said Walton. This program is no different,” he said. nationwide classroom, the GED course
“We realized that other RSPs This “no Soldier left behind” can only be considered a success. The
throughout Pennsylvania were having mentality of the teachers and cadre is National Guard is able to build upon its
similar issues,” said Walton. “So we not being lost on the students, said growing list of educational benefits, and
looked at how many Guard members in Carissa Krzak, a teacher who has been young Soldiers are given a much-needed
Pennsylvania are teachers and sent out with the program since its inception in second chance. O
word that we would like to pay them to early 2007.
28 / GUARDIANS / Winter 2007