War on Terrorism

Monday, April 16, 2012

Army Guard top enlisted leader makes time to visit deployed Soldiers

By Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Paul Evans
Kentucky National Guard

FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan (4/16/12) - Far off the beaten path in the mountains of southern Afghanistan is typically not the place you would expect to find Army Command Sgt. Maj. Richard J. Burch.

As the top enlisted leader of the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C., Burch keeps a busy schedule, making this stop of his all the more important – albeit brief.

“Since we don’t have much time here, I want to allow as much time to interact with you and see what’s on your minds and what I can do to help you to be better Soldiers, Airmen,” Burch said.

Before answering questions from his audience, enlisted members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, Burch addressed a few issues facing the National Guard as a whole.

“We have to make sure that we maintain the readiness level that’s needed to accomplish the missions that we’re asked to accomplish,” Burch said. “Whether it’s stateside with a tornado, a flood, or whatever it might be or doing the things you’re doing day to day right now…every day’s a new challenge, every day something different comes up, but every day we have to refocus and look at the mission ahead for the day.”

He also stressed to the Soldiers the importance of their mission and the importance of always being prepared to perform that mission.

“Make sure you’re doing the right things to prepare for those missions ahead of you,” Burch said. “It’s critical…to make the ADT mission successful while you’re here.”

Burch’s second key message was about helping to meet the needs of families and employers back home.

“We can’t do what we do without the support of our families and our employers. They really are the folks in the rear that are making sure that everything’s in order for when we get home,” Burch said. “We can focus on what we’re doing here in theatre knowing full well that our families and employers are being taken care of back home.”

Following his discussion of issues facing the National Guard and deployed Soldiers, Burch took some time to answer questions before honoring a few standout Soldiers with coins.

 “It’s an honor to have the [Army] National Guard command sergeant major come here,” said Army Spc. Michael Hilario, a member of ADT 4. “You have somebody of that rank and the stature that he holds in Washington…that speaks volumes to me. It lets us know that we’re on the right track.”

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