Brian Bushweller, State Senator

17th District of Delaware

November, 2017

Another National Guard Deployment Ceremony

            During my nine years in the Delaware State Senate, it has been both my honor and, in my view, my responsibility to represent the people of the 17th District in ceremonies recognizing the sacrifice and service of members of Delaware’s Army and Air Guard as they deployed to foreign lands to defend our national interests and when they returned home from those deployments after performing proudly and with distinction.

Such was the case just last month when I attended a deployment ceremony for a detachment of about 30 soldiers from the Delaware Army National Guard who were deploying to the Middle East as part of Operation Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield.  Hundreds of well-wishers assembled in one of the huge hangars at the Guard facilities in New Castle on a bright, sunny October day. There were family members of the Guardsmen, elected officials, local and state police representatives, local fire companies (displaying a huge American flag from two ladder trucks), representatives of Veterans’ Organizations and lots of others, including lots of other fellow Guardsmen themselves.

There was no question about the commitment of our local communities and of our entire state for these soldiers.  It was an uplifting, positive and sincere expression of our faith in and appreciation for those who serve to protect us and our way of life.

The main message of support was delivered by the troops’ “boss”, the new Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard, Major General Carol A. Timmons.  General Timmons is the first woman to lead this force of 1,700 soldiers in the Army Guard and 1,100 airmen in the Air Guard.  She came up “through the ranks” and is recognized as an outstanding military leader.

I should note that General Timmons succeeded Major General Frank Vavala just recently.  General Vavala had been Adjutant General for 18 years, having first been appointed to the position by former Governor Tom Carper.  I was Gov. Carper’s Secretary of Public Safety when General Vavala was appointed.  Thus, the General and I served together in the Governor’s Cabinet until the end of the Carper Administration.

As most seniors know, the majority of members of the National Guard serve part-time in their Guard responsibilities.  While leaders like Generals Timmons and Vavala are full time, as are certain other positions in the Guard, most serve and train on weekends and on more extended periods each year.  However, as we know from the frequent deployment ceremonies like the one last month, Guardsmen convert to full time when needed.  Most of these deployments are for a year, some longer.

In order for this system to work, the soldiers’ and airmen’s civilian employers need to cooperate.  The Guard is thankful that most employers do so fully and willingly.  They understand the importance of the Guard to America’s comprehensive defense system.  Just as we are proud and thankful for the Guardsmen themselves, we can all be proud of employers who embrace our country’s needs in this important and patriotic way.