National Guard Bureau chief visits Fort Leonard Wood
Grass addresses attendees at the command brief Friday.

Army National Guardsmen on Fort Leonard Wood were privileged to sit down with the chief of the National Guard Bureau during his visit Friday.

Gen. Frank Grass, the 27th National Guard Bureau chief and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Fort Leonard Wood and select community leaders to receive an update on Engineer, Military Police, Chemical and Maneuver Enhancement Brigades.

According to the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence ARNG office, approximately 88,000 of the ARNG's end strength belong or work in one of the fort's three regiments.

"The three main schools here support 24 percent of the Army National Guard end strength, meaning that about one out of every four Soldiers in the Army National Guard is in one of our three regiments," said Lt. Col. Bruce Barker, MSCoE deputy Chief of Staff for ARNG.

Barker added, "These forces play a very large important role for our Army in the war fight but also for response to Homeland Security missions or disaster relief in the form of defense support to civil authorities."

Barker said it was a privilege for the Soldiers to meet their chief who is a Missouri native.

Grass, who enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard in October 1969, said he was glad to be back at Fort Leonard Wood.

"This place is very special to me," Grass said. "I did AIT right here, it's a great place to train."

Grass spoke about how he sees the military cutbacks affecting the future of the National Guard.

"The only thing for sure right now is that by the end of 2014 we will be back to 350,000 people," Grass said. "That is still 200 above where we were pre 9-11 on the Army side. The Air Guard's going to come down (by) about 400 this year."

"We're really concerned right now," Grass added.

Page last updated Thu April 17th, 2014 at 00:00