National Guard Bureau chief visits Ohio: 'The best part of my job is to go out and see the men and women that serve in the Guard'

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn
  • 121st Air Refueling Wing
Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, was the guest speaker at the 2015 Ohio National Guard Association (ONGA) and Ohio National Guard Enlisted Association (ONGEA) Spring Dinner Dance, which is part of the annual ONGA/ONGEA conference, on April 25.

Grass currently serves as the 27th chief of the National Guard Bureau and also is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During his speech, Grass outlined three unique missions of the Ohio National Guard -- providing warfighting capabilities for Air Force and Army combat missions worldwide; providing mission capability for the governor when called to respond in the homeland; and fostering long-term partnerships with State Partnership Program participants Hungary and Serbia to form global security alliances.

Grass said the annual ONGA/ONGEA conference provides an opportunity for members of the Air and Army National Guard to get together, away from their jobs, and reflect.

"We are able to gather and talk about issues. What's in the future?  What are the things we're going to need be able to do our homeland mission as well as our overseas mission and our partnerships in the future," he said.

Grass also traveled to Ohio to meet with Ohio National Guard leaders and tour facilities at Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) and the 178th Wing in Springfield, Ohio. 

"Gen. Grass had the opportunity to speak to the largest warrant officer muster in the nation (at DSCC) and express his personal thanks for the professionalism that they bring to the Ohio Army National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general. "In addition, he was able to see, firsthand, Ohio Airmen engaged in the daily warfight overseas, while visiting the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) and intelligence area (in Springfield). Our Soldiers and Airmen greatly appreciated Gen. and Mrs. Grass' visit to Ohio, and look forward to a potential return to see additional capability."

Gen. Grass was joined by his wife, Patricia Grass, whose visit included meetings with Ohio National Guard Family Readiness leaders, the USO of Central & Southern Ohio, and The Ohio State University Extension 4-H.

"She's getting an opportunity to talk to the volunteers here as well as the Family support groups," Grass said.  "After 14 years of war, who knows better what the impact of that is than the Families?"

Bartman's wife, Christi, who was the lead host for Mrs. Grass' visit, said she could not have been more proud to introduce her to Ohio's Army and Air Family Readiness volunteers and staff.

"Their dedicated service to our Families and Guard members was evident in the stories they told of their experiences with the countless programs we provide our Families here in Ohio," Mrs. Bartman said. 

During his visit to the Buckeye State, Gen. Grass emphasized that he had a message for the Soldiers and Airmen of the Ohio National Guard.

"You are the best of the best, no doubt, and we want to keep it that way," he said. "Our nation, our children and our grandchildren need you now more than ever to reassure the security of the United States and even the world.  The best part of my job is to go out and see the men and women that serve in the Guard. There is nothing better."