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Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Monday, 25 August 2014 10:27

Illinois National Guard Adjutant General kicks off 136th National Guard Association Conference

CHICAGO (08/24/2014)(readMedia)-- The 136th National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) General Conference and Exhibition at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago runs Aug. 22 to 25.

The annual event allows members to gather and vote on the top legislative priorities for NGAUS, share information and celebrate the camaraderie of being National Guard and NGAUS members.

Approximately 3,500 National Guard members and their guests use the gathering to plan and help shape the future of the National Guard. Delegates from 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia are setting the legislative agenda and electing new members to the NGAUS board of directors.

The conference also features nearly 1,100 exhibitors that market products and services to the Guard.

Illinois Air National Guard Airman of the Year recognized during National Guard Association Conference

By Master Sgt. Ken Stephens, 126th Air Refueling Wing

CHICAGO (08/24/2014)(readMedia)-- One of the top rated Airmen for the Illinois Air National Guard was recognized by the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force during the 136th National Guard Association of the United States General Conference in Chicago on Aug. 23.

Tech. Sgt. Steven Greenleaf, of Glen Carbon, Illinois, received a commander's challenge coin from Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force's highest ranking officer, in a personal, one-on-one meeting at the conference.

While commenting on Greenleaf's civilian occupation and how it compliments his National Guard duties, Welsh said, "That's one of the strengths of the Guard. They come in with other skills, see problems we don't, and then they fix them."

Greenleaf, an engineering assistant craftsman with the 183rd Civil Engineer Squadron, part of the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield, Illinois, was chosen as the 2014 Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year by the Illinois Air National Guard. The selection was based on job performance, personal development and community service.

"It's great for individuals to be recognized for their work," said Greenleaf, "and it's also a reflection on the excellence of their team."

Greenleaf has volunteered for five deployments since enlisting in the National Guard in 2002. His most recent tour was to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan in 2013 where he was chosen as the Warrior of the Week for his engineering work supporting Air Force facility and maintenance programs.

He continues to be involved in the local community, volunteering his time with homeless shelters and the Humane Society. He also assists forensic and Geobase class students at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville where he graduated in 2013.

Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to Guardsmen at Chicago conference

By Spc. Ian Withrow, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

CHICAGO (08/24/2014)(readMedia)-- Senator Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina, spoke during the first business day of the 136th annual National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) conference in Chicago, Aug. 23, 2014.

Graham addressed an audience of National Guard members and association members, vendors and exhibitors at the conference. Graham's speech covered a variety of topics, from national defense to the tradition and honor the National Guard represents.

"The culture of the National Guard is irreplaceable," said Graham. "The Guard is indispensable to our national defense."

Maj. Jason Zeliph of New York, with Joint Forces Headquarters of the New York National Guard, said events like the NGAUS conference give members of Congress an opportunity to show their commitment to National Guard interests.

"I think it's important for members of Congress to speak at events like these," said Zeliph.

Maj. General Don Dunbar, of New Berlin, Wisconsin, the Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard said it is important for elected officials to see and understand National Guard concerns.

"Events like NGAUS, give us a voice on Capitol Hill in the right way," said Dunbar. "It's not appropriate for Soldiers and Airmen to go protest, or lobby their interests, but organizations like NGAUS can express our interests in the correct setting," said Dunbar.

Approximately 3,500 National Guard members and their guests use the annual NGAUS gathering to plan and help shape the future of the National Guard. Delegates from 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia are setting the legislative agenda and electing new members to the NGAUS board of directors.

The conference concludes on Aug. 25.


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