CAMP BUERHING, Kuwait -- Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Kepner, the senior enlisted advisor to Lengyel, shared a Thanksgiving breakfast with Army National Guard and Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade, headquartered in Sedalia, Missouri, who are deployed to the Middle East in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield.
Breakfast was Nov. 22 at the 35th CAB's Administrative and Logistical Operations Center at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
U.S. Soldiers of many ranks attended the breakfast. Throughout the meal, Lengyel and Kepner talked with the service members asking questions about jobs, career goals and deployment life. They also discussed retention rates and Soldier readiness, which affects the National Guard Bureau's strength.
Army National Guard Spc. Tia Brown, a human resources specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th CAB, was in attendance.
Brown said she was nervous to meet Lengyel, as she has never met a four-star general before. She enjoyed talking with him and learning more about what the National Guard had to offer. She liked how open Lengyel and Kepner were to discussing Soldier issues and their sincerity in effecting what changes they can do to combat such issues.
Following breakfast, Lengyel presented his coin to seven U.S. Soldiers for their exceptional service during this mobilization. U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Nicholas Arrigoni, a flight medic assigned to C. Company, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion, returned the favor by sharing his unit's morale sticker with Lengyel. U.S. Army National Guard Col. Charles Hausman, commander of the 35th CAB, also shared the brigade's morale patches with Lengyel and Kepner.
"Visits such as these are important to maintain morale during the holiday season," said U.S. Army National Guard Lt. Col. Derrick Jennings, executive officer of the 35th CAB."Being away from family and friends is taxing on our service members. We are thankful for the opportunity to share this with Gen. Lengyel and our military family."