Story by: Spc. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Kentucky National Guard.
CLAY CITY, Ky. – In an effort to help people stay physically fit Chris Johnson, President and CEO of Extreme Rampage, decided to start a company designed to help people, “Live life to the extreme.” Four Kentucky National Guardsman heard about the local event and decided try it out.
To see all photos from this event, please click HERE.
Kentucky National Guardsman participated in an Extreme Rampage obstacle course in Clay City Ky., June 15.
Events like the Extreme Rampage obstacle course are designed to test a persons physical and mental endurance.
1st Class Dillon Blevins, Staff Sgt. Joe Herrington and Sgt. Daniel Dornbusch, Recruiting and Retention non-commissioned officers, and Pvt. Grant Mahoney, chemical specialist with the 299th Chemical Company completed the grueling 5 mile course.
“My favorite part of the race was finishing,” said Dornbusch, “I like to be number one and lead by example.”
Even though Dornbusch completed the race in the fastest time, he went back to help the rest of his teammates cross the finish line.
“As a Soldier, that’s just what you do,” said Dornbusch, “You’re not finished until all your men are back safe and sound.”
The course had numerous amounts of obstacles. Competitors had to trudge through rough, wet and muddy terrain, climb over walls, and even swim through bodies of water.
“I loved when we had to swim in the pond,” said Mahoney, “As a civilian I love swimming, so when it came to that, I wasn’t worried at all.”
The Guardsmen were the first group of people to complete the race. One Soldier thought it would be a great training experience for all Servicemembers.
“This course reminded me of my Basic Training experience,” said Herrington, “Both experiences help train you to be resilient and mentally tough. Even though you want to give up, you just have to keep pushing through.
The adult course was rough in itself, but for two Guardsman, it wasn’t the only obstacle course they completed. Herrington and Blevins suited up with extreme staff T-shirts and helped children eight to twelve complete their own mini obstacle course.
“These events are good to scout military recruits,” said Herrington, “They help you identify men and women who are mentally and physically tough.
Other Kentucky National Guardsmen were at the event to show support, help set up the course, and to help recruit others. Staff Sgt. Christy Rients, Recruiting and Retention Personnel NCO, handed out National Guard prizes to everyone who completed the course.
“Events like these are good training tools,” said Rients, “They measure physical and mental endurance.”
All four Guardsman wore a Superman shirts in honor of the newest Superman movie, “Man of Steel.” The producers showcased National Guardsmen from across the United States in marketing campaigns and commercials for the movie.
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Col. Scott Campbell became the newest general in the Kentucky National Guard during a promotion ceremony at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., June 14, 2013.
A large gathering of Soldiers, Airmen, family, friends and associates of Campbell gathered together to watch the pinning of the stars to the 32-year-veteran’s uniform.
Lt. Col. John Truefeldt, who served under Campbell as part of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Iraq in 2011, said Kentucky doesn’t deserve a better general.
“General Campbell is an outstanding officer and an all-around wonderful person,” he said. “He’s done great in all command positions he’s had so far, and he will excel as our newest general officer.”
Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini presided over the ceremony and assisted Campbell’s wife Linda in placing the stars on the new general’s shoulders.
Tonini said the native of Marion, Ky., has earned the respect of the Kentucky National Guard though his years of service, which he called a godsend.
“I know that our organization, and most important, the men and women of the Kentucky National Guard are in good hands with his wisdom and guidance,” said Tonini.
Campbell enlisted in the Kentucky Guard in 1981, commissioning as an officer in 1st Battalion, 123rd Armor in 1984. He has commanded at the company, battalion and brigade level and served in senior staff officer positions within the 149th Brigade and at the state headquarters level. He has three overseas deployments, including to Bosnia and two to Iraq.
It was the second tour in Iraq, in which Campbell commanded the 149th MEB, overseeing a large portion of the transition of U.S. bases in the country to Iraqi hands. He said that deployment has helped define his career in uniform.
Campbell thanked many Soldiers for their influence and leadership guidance in his career. From former platoon sergeants to current generals, he said he has tried to include many aspects of their quality leadership into his roles.
He also thanked his family and friends in attendance, especially his mother who “started it all” by dropping him off at the bus station in Marion, Ky., as he shipped off to boot camp.
“I couldn’t imagine 32 years ago, I couldn’t ever envision this day,” he said. “It has been a life changing experience. And in hindsight, I would still get on that bus.”
“I look forward to the challenge of assisting Major General Tonini with making this great organization even better,” said Campbell. “I only hope I can give back as much as this organization has given me.”
Story by Sgt. Alexa Becerra, Task Force Longrifles Public Affairs
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — Throughout history, teaching has been considered one of the most noble of careers. Teachers work long hours, live on a modest salary yet the impact they have on the future of our country by teaching the youth is immeasurable.
Another noble profession is that of a Soldier. They endure long hours, hardships, and separation from their families, also have a modest salary and are willing to give their lives for their country.
The dream of one young Kentucky man is to be become both. Cpl. De’Marcus Hopson, a native of Madisonville, Ky., is a National Guard Soldier from the 2138th Forward Support Company currently deployed to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is also a full-time student at Kentucky State University, majoring in Secondary Social Studies education with a double minor in African American Studies and Speech Communication.
“I plan on teaching at an inner-city school,” said Hopson. “The military has a program called Troops to Teachers, where you have a commitment to teach at an inner city school for two to three years with military incentives, benefits and stipends.”
Although he will be participating in this program that requires Soldiers to teach at inner-city schools for a certain amount of time, Hopson said he has always wanted to teach in that type of environment.
“I feel very strongly about teaching because growing up, I can count with one hand how many male teachers I had,” said Hopson. “Also, to teach in an urban, poverty stricken community you need to be able to connect with the kids.“
Hopson is very passionate about teaching at inner-city schools because he feels that he has what it takes to connect with those students because of his military background, and he also says that he does not have the middle-class mentality which most new teachers have and try to enforce when they teach inner-city students.
Hopson is very active at his school. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and also plays in the university’s marching band, the Mighty Marching Thorobred Band.
Furthermore, he is also a model Soldier. His father was in the military, and Hopson thought he would never join the military because his father was always gone on deployments. He said he initially joined the Guard to pay for school, but since he’s been in the reason for joining has changed.
“I believe that everybody should serve their country,” said Hopson. “This is a great opportunity to learn and grow, develop discipline and leadership skills, time management, and also get your school paid for.”
Hopson was selected as Soldier of the Year for the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, and next is the competition for Soldier of the Year for the State of Kentucky.
“The board consisted of a wide array of questions, from military funeral procedures to weapons training,” said Hopson. “I had three sources I studied from: the battalion history packet, material from the Warrior Leader Course, and then the Army board packet as well.”
Hopson was first selected for a company board out of his platoon for his outstanding leadership skills, military bearing, among other things such as physical fitness scores. He won that board, and then competed against the four other batteries in the battalion.
In addition to participating in these boards, and being a team leader providing security for the Ammunition Supply Point here at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Hopson also participated in the Warrior Leader Course held here.
“I really appreciate being able to go through the Warrior Leader Course while deployed,” said Hopson. “I learned a lot more in depth about leadership abilities and skills, which will help me a lot in my military and civilian career.”
Hopson, the second out of six children, hopes to finish his school within the next year and a half, and also plans to stay in the Guard until retirement. He said he would recommend the Guard and the military in general, to everyone.
“The Guard is enabling me to serve my country and go to school at the same time,” said Hopson. “And it also is helping me accomplish my dream of being a teacher.”
Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
FRANKFORT, Ky. — When Service members are tasked with a job, a school or training, they may have travel far from home. Even in the National Guard, some Soldiers’ assignments take them around the world. For one Kentucky National Guard member, the mission was on a movie set in Hollywood, Calif.
In a coordinated effort, Warner Brothers Entertainment partnered with the National Guard to market the upcoming Superman movie, “Man of Steel.” Soldiers from around the country were selected to assist with and appear in a National Guard advertisement appearing in conjunction with the movie’s marketing campaign. A total of 22 Guardsmen from 18 states converged on Hollywood for the week-long shoot, including Kentucky’s own Pfc. Kierre Brown.
The 21-year-old from Frankfort, Ky., is an infantryman with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry. Brown also works full-time with the Kentucky Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Command. He and the 21 other Soldiers were chosen out of more than 4,000 applicants for the unique assignment.
“I loved my trip to Hollywood,” said Brown. “From the moment I stepped off the plane and met Kareem Abdul Jabbar to the last night of being there and hanging with the entire cast and crew for we had become such great friends.”
The 1-minute-long spot depicts the Citizen-Soldiers, just like Superman’s alias, Clark Kent, as ordinary individuals who at any moment could be the hero needed in difficult times. Brown said the filming was a unique adventure and not unlike military training at times. Brown is one of the Soldiers on the roof of the building helping the family be hoisted by a helicopter.
“It was intense,” he said. “We had a director and set people telling us where to be and when and to do this here. It got to be pretty hectic and we had to look good for the camera at the same time.”
“I was able to be a part of the making a movie commercial, and see what it takes to make just a mere 1 minute and 24 seconds of footage. Now I know it takes a lot.”
In his role as an actor, Brown said the Hollywood treatment was pretty nice — staying in a very nice hotel, having his own make-up and wardrobe assistant, meeting “Man of Steel” director, Zack Snyder — but the food, gourmet selections from a food truck, was his favorite part.
Hollywood antics aside, Brown said the opportunity to represent the National Guard to the world was a humbling experience. And working with and making friends with the other Soldiers was the highlight of the trip.
“I’d have to say my favorite part about the entire experience would have to be the individuals I meet who have become lasting friends to me. Guardsmen coming from states like Washington, New Jersey, Maryland, New Mexico, California, Illinois, Utah, and Arkansas. I was completely surprised that out of all the Guardsmen in the country a mere 4,000 applied for the chance.”
Brown has only served in the Kentucky Guard for 18 months. So far he has accomplished a lot to be proud of, but like any good, forward-looking Soldier, he’s keeping his eyes on what’s next.
“I’d have to say that to be the only Kentucky Guardsman to be chosen to represent my state and my country is by far one of the coolest things I’ve done so far in my Guard career. But let me tell you, it won’t be the last. Somehow, someday I’ll top this.”
Story by Maj. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Chief of Public Affairs
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Col. Warren Hurst, commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, has announced new leadership assignments that will take effect here during the June Unit Training Assembly.
Col. Barry Gorter, current commander of the 123rd Operations Group, will assume the role of 123rd Airlift Wing vice commander during a ceremony to be held June 22 at 2:15 p.m. in the Fuel Cell Hangar. The outgoing vice commander, Col. Robert Hamm, will take command of the 123rd Operations Group during the same ceremony.
Gorter’s new post is a “traditional” position, which means he will fulfill vice commander duties as a drilling reservist. During the week, the day-to-day functions of vice commander will be handled by Lt. Col. Jeff Wilkinson, commander of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, who is being detailed to Wing Headquarters to serve as deputy air commander. Maj. Sean McLane will act as commander of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron in the interim.
Lt. Col. Nick Coleman, the current director of operations for the 165th Airlift Squadron, will assume command of the flying unit from Lt. Col. Shawn Dawley, who has been selected to complete a prestigious year-long fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. This change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for June 22 at 9 a.m. in the Aircrew Briefing Room.
Maj. Kevin Krauss will return from a year of study at National Intelligence University to assume command of the 123rd Force Support Squadron from Lt. Col. George Imorde, who has been selected to attend Air War College in residence. The FSS change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for June 23 at 9:30 a.m. in the Aircrew Briefing Room.
Lastly, Lt. Col. George Tomica, current commander of the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, will become deputy commander of the 123rd Maintenance Group. Maj. Chris Bishop, commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron, will assume Tomica’s previous post when he takes charge of the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during a change-of-command ceremony slated for June 23 at 2 p.m. in the Fuel Cell Hangar.
Maj. Ash Groves, director of operations for the 123rd Contingency Response Group, will assume command of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron during the same ceremony.
“Please join me in congratulating these exceptional officers as they take on new leadership responsibilities and continue to expand their educations in the Profession of Arms,” Hurst said.
Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Tynes, 102nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
COMBAT OUTPOST MUSHAN, Afghanistan – Hajji Faizal Mohammad, Panjwa’i district governor, and several officials of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan met with approximately 30 local farmers for an agricultural shura at Combat Outpost Mushan, March 28, 2013. District Development Assistant Chairman Hajji Maik Mohammad and Mohammed Quodos, of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, also attended the shura to speak to farmers about their concerns and to inform them about what the government is doing for them. A shura is similar to a town hall meeting in the West.
The event was held at the request of Governor Mohammad, said Capt. Forrest Holdsworth of the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team, based at Forward Operating Base Pasab. The 81st Civil Affairs also assisted with the shura and security was provided by Afghan National Army soldiers at Mushan and COP Mushan’s A Company, 4th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
“We’re starting to establish linkages and that’s because security is getting better,” Holdsworth said. “The idea is to show (local farmers) we work closely with the district governor and they need to work with their government and use their process.”
Gov. Mohammad opened the shura and was followed by other GIRoA officials and the local ANA commander. A veterinarian, irrigation specialist and other professionals were also present. The officials then answered questions from the farmers, which ranged from how to get projects funded to complaints about crop lands being used for roads and other infrastructure improvements.
“It was a long shura and we didn’t really talk much at all,” Holdsworth said. “The fact that they led 90 percent of that discussion shows they are taking the lead.”
Gov. Mohammad said he was pleased with the results of the shura.
“It will benefit the people of the village,” he said. “This is good to build relationships and build security for this village.”
He said it is a continuing process and by talking with the people of the villages they can build the trust between local populations and the government. Mohammad hopes to be able to address other concerns in future shuras.
“It will be good in the future,” he said. “We should have more to benefit the villages on other things.”
Story by Tech. Sgt. Kelly White, CJTF-HOA Public Affairs
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Widely known for unfaltering loyalty, mission focus, courage under fire and ability to detect a threat like no human or military apparatus can, military working dogs have earned their status as some of the most trusted and loved comrades amid troops as well as one of the most in-demand weapon systems for downrange military commanders.
What’s not so widely known is how to most effectively administer care under fire when one of these fearless warriors gets wounded in battle.
It’s for this reason medics from the Kentucky Army National Guard 2-138th Field Artillery Regiment assigned to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, in support of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission, and CJTF-HOA Surgeon Cell, veterinarian U.S. Army Capt. Danielle Diamond, teamed recently to better tend to the needs of MWD service members putting their lives at risk alongside their human pack mates.
“This training is something we requested through the vet services here on camp, because of the likelihood of encounters with MWDs,” U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant Justin Gilliam, 2-138th FAR Task Force Longrifles medical services officer, said. “This basic knowledge will help our medics should they ever need to provide care to a MWD.”
During the training, Diamond first explained the importance of muzzling the dog; and, with the help of U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Ryan Ezell, and his MWD partner, Adela, taught medics how to fit the muzzle before administering medical care.
“With a human being, you can immediately begin to give care once the enemy is suppressed,” Gilliam said. “With a MWD, you must still suppress the enemy, but take into account the temperament of the dog and how to handle the dog without further injuring the dog or being injured yourself.”
After emphasizing the safety afforded by proper muzzling, Diamond, a Fairfax, Va., native, taught the medics some significant differences between how to identify, treat and monitor a human versus a canine patient.
“Something as basic as taking vital signs on a dog differs pretty drastically from taking a person’s vitals,” Diamond, whose regular duty station is Royal Air Force Feltwell, United Kingdom, said.
Ultimately, a dog’s body temperature, heart and respiratory rate are different, said Diamond, as is the position of their bodily organs. This means medics need to know where to go to correctly assess the dog’s condition and medical care needs.
Not only did the medic’s training teach how to properly administer canine care on the battlefield, but the lessons learned during the training will now carry over to their mission preparation as well.
“This training, in addition to allowing us to really focus on something other than human care, has opened our eyes to the importance of proper handling of a MWD and how to treat its injuries,” Gilliam, a Lexington, Ky., native said. “Knowing what we now know, we can better adapt our (standard operating procedures) to better safeguard ourselves when treating a MWD, to protect both the dog and our medics.”
Likewise, their SOP updates will include actions that must take into account the strong bond between dog and handler. Regardless of which one in the human-canine pair is injured, a MWD gets treated in the presence of its handler, Gilliam explained. If it’s the handler who’s injured, he’s treated in the presence of the MWD and a spotter.
Even if one’s injuries require a medical evacuation, they go together, he added. This is a major consideration in a situation when there’s only room for one on the MEDEVAC.
Inasmuch as the medics value the training because it broadened their medical know-how, it has also developed their appreciation for MWD patients.
“Being in a combat arms unit, we interact on all levels with different types of patients,” Gilliam said. “There’s always the chance we could have to perform life saving, medical care to save a MWDs life because they are a fellow service member and deserve the same top-quality medical care as any person in uniform.”