Why the California State Legislature doesn’t support the troops
What is the National Guard? According to “The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition,” the National Guard is “The military reserve units controlled by each state of the United States, equipped by the federal government and subject to the call of either the federal or the state government”.
Of all our Armed Forces, the National Guard is the oldest, tracing its history all the way back to before the American Revolution to our earliest settlers. In the days of the early settlers, there was no military presence. This was a new land full of explorers and newly arrived settlers. But there were no big cities and towns with local governments and a main central government. These were all things yet to come.
Those men who were able served in the militias to protect the settlers from Indian attacks. Later, they would also provide protection against foreign invaders and defend the Colonies in the American Revolution.
The colonial militias protected their fellow citizens from Indian attack, foreign invaders, and later helped to win the Revolutionary War. Following independence, the authors of the Constitution empowered Congress to “provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia.” However, recognizing the militia’s state role, the Founding Fathers reserved the appointment of officers and training of the militia to the states. Today’s National Guard still remains a dual state-Federal force.
I hear a lot of talk all the time about how the guard is being called up for Iraq and Afghanistan and that leaves them unable to provide emergency service s at home. Nothing could be further from the truth. During Katrina, the Guard [50,000] was there even though many of its members had lost their homes. I personally know there were Guard members and former Guard members who came from all over the United States “in their own” to help during that tragedy and helped out. Some were fortunate enough to receive aid and support with vehicle problems that they encountered. Others were ostracized by ant-war hecklers! They still donated their services.
In the 1900’s, the active military was not a large body. The guard filled the gap needed for our conflict with Mexico, early stages of the Civil War,and the Spanish American War. The National Guard, the new name for the militias, became a reserve force for the Army in 1903. This was dine by an act of Congress through national defense legislation. The National Guard played a crucial role in WWI and WWII. They were 40% of the fighting force in WWI and the first to be sent to the front in WWII.
The Air National Guard was formed after WWII. Many of the units in that Air National Guard existed all the way back to WWI. The Cold War, the Berlin Crisis, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm all were fought with elements of the National Guard alongside our regular Army and other forces. They have also been in Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Not only have they fought in these wars they also go out on humanitarian crisis worldwide.
“Today, tens of thousands of Guardmembers are serving in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the National Guard continues its historic dual mission, providing to the states units trained and equipped to protect life and property, while providing to the nation units trained, equipped and ready to defend the United States and its interests, all over the globe”.
When the forest fires recently devastated areas of California the Guard was there working side by side with other rescue and emergency services. Over the years the California Guard was there for its citizens providing rescue services, first aid, clean up, passing out food, whatever other help was needed. The Guard has provided assistance in times of need after earth quakes, fires, floods, mudslides,and any other natural or man made disaster.
Of the 50 states in the United States, California is the only state that will does not provide tuition assistance to its Guard members. The California National guard is the smallest unit p[er capita of any guard unit in the 50 states , 1 for every 1,900 Californians or 20,000 members as of May 15, 2007 according to the Los Angeles Times in their report called, “Give back to the National Guard”.
The California Guard is supposedly the most active of all the 50 states. But, California is having problems keeping personnel in the Guard. It is also having trouble recruiting new Guard members. One of the things most Guard members want is Tuition Aid from their state so they can go to college.
Repeatedly the California State Senate fails to approve legislation that would provide tuition aide for its National Guard. According to the LA Times article:
“The risk of being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan has made Guard service significantly less attractive than it used to be. But the one benefit recruits want most, according to the Guard’s commanders, is state aid for college. Although the state Senate Veterans Affairs Committee approved a tuition proposal in April, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget request for assistance has run into a brick wall in the chamber.”
On Fox Cable yesterday the reporters who discussed the situation in California reported that the cost of providing $7,000.00 dollars/year for each Guard member for tuition aide was $0.06 per person per year. Such a small sacrifice for those who give so much.
So, what’s the big deal. Well, some members of the state legislature say the bills sent to them are poorly written and countless other ridiculous reasons for failing to pass the needed legislation. However members in the legislature say the real reason is the fact that most legislators are against the war. They see passing such legislation as an indirect show of their support.
I find this appalling. I also find it indirect conflict with the constant litany of California legislators who claim, “I support the troops. I just don’t support the war!” So Guard members are not staying in a a rate needed to keep the California Guard member level high enough to do all the is necessary for it to serve and protect local state citizens or meet its Federal responsibilities to serve and protect our nation! Actually, the California Guard size is steadily dwindling in the face of future natural disasters and continued need at a federal level to help defend our nation.
Presently, the National Guard is becoming essential here at home as part of the Homeland Security effort to protect the home front! Again, according to the LA Times:
“The alarming decline in the Guard’s ranks has real consequences — equipment once assigned here is moving to other states. That’s a problem lawmakers need to solve now, before the next major disaster.”
On a final note, I find it appalling that Californians are so short sighted. Not only are they not looking out for their own they are creating a very dangerous situation in their own future. If the present trend in the California National Guard continues, who will respond to the large number of natural disasters that California faces every year? Do you suppose they expect a bailout? The actios of the California lawmakers is negligent in the extreme!
Maybe they can farm out the rescue operations and other tasks to all the illegal aliens to whom they give safe haven!