Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard commissioned four Guardsmen as the newest second lieutenants during a ceremony at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, April 18, 2013.
The four graduated from the winter accelerated officer candidate school course. Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini joined family and friends and a crowd of supporting Guardsmen in congratulating the new officers after the ceremony.
Each of the officers commented on the long road they have been on as part of the OCS course. 2nd Lt. James Rimington from Bowling Green, Ky., was elated to have made it to this moment and looks forward to his role with the 206th Engineers.
“I’m glad to be done with the OCS part,” he said. “I am extremely excited about starting my new journey as an officer in the Kentucky National Guard. I’m ready to see what the future brings and where it goes from here.”
Rimington thanked his family and friends for all the support they have giving him during his time in OCS. His wife, Ashley is no stranger to the sacrifices of the military, her brother, Spc. Tyler Hudson is deployed overseas with the Kentucky Guard’s 623rd Field Artillery. As an officer’s wife, she knows there’s more responsibilities and that she will be called upon more as well.
“I’m so proud. It’s been a lot of hard work. We’ve been through a lot to get here, I’m glad he stuck with it.” she said. “And I look forward to becoming more involved with the Guard.”
For 2nd Lt. Franklin Moore, becoming an officer seemed like a natural thing he should do. He said he was always in leadership and mentoring roles in sports and high school, so to carry that into a military career made sense to him. His perspective on OCS will remain with him through his career. His memories and stories are ones he doesn’t think many will or could understand, but he is optimistic of his future role in the Kentucky Guard.
“It’s a difficult road, it’s definitely challenging mentally and physically, but you just have to look forward to that end goal. It’s going to be worth it and you are going to benefit from it, and you’re going to benefit others down the road,” he said.
2nd Lt. Mark Gardner will be attached to the 206th Engineers and 2nd Lt. Christopher Moore will be assigned to Charlie Co. 1st Battlion, 149th Infantry.
By Senior Airman Vicky Spesard, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Chief Master Sergeant David Fink was honorably retired from the Kentucky Air National Guard during a ceremony held March 17 at the 123rd Airlift Wing, closing out a military career spanning 42 years of dedicated service.
Family, friends and colleagues gathered at the Base Annex to pay tribute to Fink, who began his career as an aircraft maintenance machinist in 1971 and concluded his service as the chief enlisted manager for force support at Joint Forces Headquarters—Kentucky.
During the ceremony, Fink was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal and a 40-year service plaque, all of which were presented to him by Brig. Gen. Mark Kraus, Kentucky’s assistant adjutant general for Air.
“You don’t get to see too many of these,” Kraus said of the 40-year plaque. “For those of you who are in this unit today and have been since Sept. 11, 2001, and have known nothing but war, I dare say that not many of you will stay or will want to stay for 40 years like Chief Fink.
“Twenty will be enough by the time you get to that point, and I want to thank you for your service,” he continued. “If you can stay for 40 years, I think the chief would recommend that. So thanks, chief, for all that you’ve done here.”
Fink joined the Kentucky Air National Guard as a traditional Guardsman shortly after graduating from high school. He began his full-time military technician career as a structural repair specialist supporting the RF-4C Phantom II aircraft in 1975.
Fink became the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the aircraft maintenance machine shop in 1990. He broadened his career in the spring of 1992 when he became the first sergeant for the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, deploying in support of operations in Germany, Panama and Kenya.
In 2004, Fink was chosen to be the supervisor of the aircraft structural repair shop. He deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in 2007 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the superintendent of operations. Fink’s other deployments included Operations Iraqi Freedom, Restore Hope, Provide Promise and Joint Forge.
After retiring from the technician force in 2008, Fink continued to serve as the traditional maintenance group superintendent. His outstanding leadership played a key role in the 123rd Airlift Wing’s receipt of an “excellent” rating during the nation’s first Homeland Defense Operational Readiness Inspection in 2010, Kraus said.
Certificates of appreciation were presented during the ceremony to Fink’s wife and mother, both of whom he thanked for their support throughout his career.
“Every time I would go on a deployment, my mother would get the map out to see where I was going and ask me if would be safe, and I would always say yes,” the chief said. “I don’t know if she believed me, but it was always good.
“To my wife,” he continued, “thank God I found you and thank you for believing in the Guard as much as I do.”
Fink saved his final remarks for his much-beloved maintenance team members.
“Even though I am retiring out of Joint Forces Headquarters, my heart has always been with maintenance,” he said. “It has been my privilege to work with you, and you will have a special place with me always.”
Story and photos by Sgt. Paul Evans, 103rd Brigade Support Battalion Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative
FRANKFORT, Ky. — “Forget logistics, you lose,” quoted Lt. Gen. Fredrick Franks during Operation Desert Storm over 20 years ago.
In the Kentucky Army National Guard, a small group of unsung heroes make sure its not forgotten today; issuing supplies to Kentucky Soldiers both at home and on the front lines around the world, while also making sure everything is accounted for when Soldiers decide it’s finally time to trade their Army boots for civilian shoes.
Founded in 2001, the Kentucky National Guard’s Central Issue Facility (CIF) in Frankfort helps make life easier on National Guard units in communities across the state by providing a centralized facility to coordinate the issuing of new military equipment and turn-in of old, broken, or obsolete equipment for individual Soldiers. With barely more than a half-dozen Soldiers, two of which are currently deployed, CIF takes on the large task associated with handling the logistics of more than 6,000 Soldiers’ gear.
Individual Soldiers’ equipment is just one of the many critical logistical elements the Kentucky National Guard must handle to maintain overall effectiveness serving the citizens of the Commonwealth that is often overlooked.
“We issue out the gear the Soldier uses on a daily basis—well, on a weekend basis, mostly,” explained Staff Sgt. Elgin Mershon of Campbellsville, Ky., who serves as one of just a few supply technicians at CIF.“I don’t think they (Soldiers) could function without their gear. I think we do a pretty good job overall,” he added.
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Woolums of Frankfort, Ky., who serves as the CIF Manager, has worked there since its establishment in 2001.
According to Woolums, the CIF handled more than 10,000 turn-ins of equipment valued at almost seven million dollars in 2012 alone. In addition to those staggering numbers, they filled more than 8,000 orders for Soldiers needing supplies that year.
CIF also plays a critical role in mobilizing Kentucky National Guard Soldiers to serve overseas, ensuring each Soldier has the individual equipment they need for specific deployments.
“In 2011, we did the 149th (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s deployment to Iraq), which was about 1,500 Soldiers,” Woolums recalled. “Last year, we mobilized around 1,000 Soldiers.”
“It’s taking a lot of responsibilities off the supply sergeants (in individual Units) because…before CIF, excess inventory was stored in their supply room,” Woolums noted regarding the CIF’s contribution to the Kentucky Guard.
“Now they (supply sergeants) put orders into the system. We’ll go out and pull it (off the shelf), box it up, and ship it boxed by name with the paperwork of the items that are in it. I think that helps a lot,” he added.
As with any organization, Woolums expressed what he believed to be the greatest challenge of CIF’s daunting task: “not having enough people. That’s my biggest issue is not having enough manpower with all we do,” he observed.
“I’m very proud (to be a part of the CIF),” Woolums concluded. “I love my job. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. I’ve been here since 2001 and this is probably where I’ll retire from.”
Advice by Regina Harris, Kentucky National Guard Personal Financial Counselor
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Are you wondering what will I do? Where will I go from here? With the state of the economy, sequestration and furlough and so many other things going on, so much uncertainty is very scary. We only know that we will have our paychecks cut! Take heart, with only this much information, we can take steps to help ourselves deal with financial change.
What must I do, you ask? We must reduce expenses and save as much money as possible. That is very easy to say, but very difficult to do. The rationale is that “When the sky is falling, you take shelter.” The saved money is your “shelter.” If you like the “Rain falling, use an umbrella” analogy, go with that. Either way, the goal is to be able to pay essential expenses without borrowing any money or creating any debt. There is just no way to sugar coat what is to come. It’s time to put on your Big Girl/Boy pants.
Here is the First step:
1. Write down absolutely everything (make two $ columns) on which you spend money like…
- Fixed expenses (mortgage, rent, car payment…)
- Variable expenses (cell phone, electricity, cable…)
- Other expenses (pet care, gym fees…)
- Contributions to Retirement, Investments and Savings
2. Total the dollars amounts on this first list, column A,
Now that you have all these numbers in front of you, have a heart to heart talk with your family (any person who uses/relies on your income). The talk needs to assess what is most important and essential to the family. Put a check mark next to each item on the list that is essential to keep. Copy that essential items dollar amount into column B, which should be next to column A. Good hints for the check mark are the mortgage/rent, utilities, car payments and savings accounts.
Here is the second step of what to do:
- Calm Down and Grow Up! Flashback, “…very easy to say, but very difficult to do.” This is it.
- Stop contributing to retirement accounts.
- Stop contributing money to everything, except simple (withdraw without penalty) savings accounts.
- Stop all extracurricular activities for the kids and you. I know, as I said this is Big Girl/Boy stuff!
- Stop loaning money to family and friends.
- Try to reduce every item on the list that is almost essential, example cell phones, pet fees, etc.
- Delete any item that is really just a want, example cable TV, hobby fees, etc.
- Explore the option of selling things that you no longer need/use, example sports equipment, books, etc.
- Lastly, explore extra income. Be careful to check with your command first, though.
That was the last list. In all reality the money saved is really money not spent. The money will be re-routed to the essential items. Any extra money should be put in Savings, to use when there is a short- fall to pay the essential items. As your income settles and you know what to expect, you may be able to step back a bit. When it seems safe, add back in some of the comforts you may have had to give up for a while.
The third and and final step: It is vitally important to keep a very tight Budget /Spending Plan.
It is times such as these when the ‘fully funded emergency fund’ shines. Its only purpose is to help us when our regular income falls short. When this emergency is settled, please consider saving 4 – 6 months of expenses.
For more information email Regina at RHarris@MFLC.Zeiders.com or give her a call at 502-548-4836. You’ll be glad you did!
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — What happens when you have a team of educators who deploy to a country that only has a 17 percent literacy rate? Those educators set out to change those numbers.
The Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team, a National Guard unit, deployed to Kandahar province, Afghanistan, participated in Operation Love Thy Neighbor at Forward Operating Base Pasab, March 17.
Air Force Lt. Col. Dallas Kratzer, the Kentucky ADT deputy commander, and a native of Lawrenceburg, Ky., worked in conjunction with the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division chaplain to provide clothes and school supplies to the Afghan National Army through the Afghan Religious and Cultural Affairs, who in turn distribute the supplies to local villages.
Lt. Col. Abdul Ghani, the chief of RCA, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps, ANA, appreciated the donations from the soldiers.
One of the biggest things for Afghanistan is now, with the United States’ help, the ANA has accomplished a lot, said Ghani. They have also progressed a lot in the education aspect as far as teaching soldiers and helping the villages and locals.
“This is truly an Afghan to Afghan thing,” said Kratzer. “All we’re doing is facilitating the materials. We’re equipping them with school supplies so their kids have an interest in being taught, learning and improving what they have.”
The supplies, which have all been donated, are set to foster a more positive relationship with the local Afghan citizens and the ANA, said Kratzer.
Sgt. Eric Schenck, 1/1 AD chaplain’s assistant, and a native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., works closely with the Afghan RCA teams. Schenck helps receive, inspect, store and deliver the donations to the ANA. Schenck also coordinated with the ADT, who immediately jumped on board.
“This is a win-win for all,” said Schenck. “The fact that it is the ANA giving the items fosters positive feelings and will help build supportive sentiments.”
“It feels to directly improve the living conditions here in Afghanistan,” said Schenck. “It hurts to see so many people living in poverty. I want to help somehow and this is a great way to do some good while I’m deployed.”
Kratzer concluded by emphasizing that this project was to build relationships, not just between Americans and Afghans, but also with the ANA and locals.
“In everything that we do, we want to build sustainability to help foster something that will continue on,” said Kratzer. “It’s not about giveaways. It’s about relationships.”
Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Approximately 15 members of the Kentucky National Guard’s 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment were honored in a welcome home ceremony April 12, 2013 at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky.
A large turn out of friends, family and distinguished leaders of the Kentucky Guard welcomed the group with banners, flags, laughs and smiles, and a lot of food.
“It’s great to have him home,” said Stephanie Hilpp, wife of 2nd Lt. Charles Hilpp. “And it’s awesome that there is still this kind of support for the military. I think we have one of the biggest cheering sections here.”
During the nine-month deployment, the Soldiers of the 613th trained and advised the Afghan National Army Engineers and Afghan National Police Engineers on techniques for everyday maintenance and sustainment operations of the facilities and supporting infrastructure on their bases. The troops oversaw the function of more than $9 billion in buildings, facilities and equipment while in Afghanistan.
“The biggest thing is that it is very gratifying to see the results,” said 2nd Lt. Hilpp. “When we left, the Afghans were really like family, you get to know them and trust them.”
The 613th assisted in the transition of more than 2800 facilities to the supervision of the Afghan National Security Forces. Kentucky’ adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini called the unit’s success ‘doing it the Kentucky way,’ referring to the great reputation of Kentucky Guardsmen deployed overseas and the ‘unbelievable mission’ success of the 613th. Tonini complimented the unit’s Family Readiness Group on their work to provide such a turn out for the small unit. Tonini and unit commander, Col. Steven King, both reminded the Soldiers of the importance of their families and the quality role they played in the success of the unit. Words Hilpp already knew and looks forward to reconnecting with his wife and four children.
“It’s so awesome being home again,” he said. “Can’t wait to be a dad again, and a husband and everything else.”
Since September 11, 2001 more 16,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed in support of the Global War on Terror. The Kentucky
National Guard currently has more than 900 troops in Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East and around the globe.
Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Anderson, with additional photos by Sgt. Datarra Ignacio-Hooper, Headquarters 238th Regiment Unit Public Affairs Historian Representatives.
GREENVILLE, Ky. — On 6 April 2013, the 238th Regimental Training Institute conducted a change of responsibility ceremony at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, Greenville, Ky. Incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Southard is taking over for Master Sgt. Timothy Goad.
During Goad’s tenure the 238th Regiment received the highest accreditation by the United States Army Training and Doctrination Command of “Institute of Excellence” in December 2012.
“During my 32 years of service in my various assignments in transportation, field artillery and military police, I am most thankful for my assignment with the 238th Regiment,” he said. “The dedication and support from the 238th‘s NCO corps ensured not only my success but yours as well. Our first accreditation through TRADOC was not only a success, but through your hard work and perseverance we received the highest rating possible, as an Institute of Excellence.”
‘This is a bittersweet moment for me,” he added. “The sweet is the opportunity to lead such an outstanding group of NCOs as yourselves. The bitter portion is having to step down.”
Goad is now assigned as senior operations NCO for the regiment. He served in the military since 1980 and in the active guard and reserve since 1997. He deployed on multiple occasions including Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom II and Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09. Goad’s many awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. He has three children and two grandchildren.
Regimental commander Col. William A. Denny expressed gratitude for Goad’s contributions, saying that, ‘We’ve had a great year and the highlight of that year being accreditation. Thank you for stepping up and thank you for the tremendous job you’ve done.”
Denny also expressed his confidence that Southard would lead the regiment in continued excellence in training Soldiers.
“We are continuing to head in the right direction and with Command Sgt. Maj. Southard’s leadership we will continue to make great strides,” he said.
“I do thank the Kentucky Army National Guard, State Sergeant Major and of course COL Denny for having confidence in me to come back to the 238th to serve as Commandant here,” said Southard. “I appreciate and thank Master Sgt. Goad for the job he has done. I hope you show me that support and confidence too. And I know I will work well with each and every one of you.”
Southard most recently served as the 149th Brigade Support Battalion command sergeant major. Southard has served since on active duty from 1983 to 1988 and has served in the National Guard since 1988. He also has served on several deployments from Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Southard is a graduate of Weber State University. Southard’s awards and decorations include Bronze Star Medal w/”V” device, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal and others. Southard is married and has a daughter.