BOISE AIR TERMINAL AIR GUARD STATION, Idaho - Gov. Brad Little met with several key military leaders Aug. 19 at the Orchard Combat Training Center to receive an update on current Idaho National Guard programs and major upcoming events and exercises.
"It is critical that the governor, in his role as the commander in chief of the Idaho National Guard, takes the time to see the capabilities of our Soldiers and Airmen," said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho. "It allows him to fully understand, firsthand, the issues that are relevant to our readiness."
Senior leaders briefed the governor on unit training missions and deployment rotations, the F-35A Lighting II Environmental Impact Study, Idaho's State Partnership Program with Cambodia, the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy dormitory project, A-10 Thunderbolt II modernization efforts, and current and future issues facing the Orchard Combat Training Center.
The OCTC plays a large role in the readiness and training of Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers and Idaho Air National Guard Airmen. During the governor's visit, the Idaho National Guard highlighted the ways it ensures good environmental stewardship to protect and preserve the National Conservation Area of the OCTC, which includes the OCTC Fire Department's quick response times.
"Our fire department has an extremely quick response time - less than two minutes," said Lt. Col. Chris Borders, Idaho National Guard public affairs officer. "In return, we also have the smallest average number of acres burned in the NCA and a highly concentrated area of native vegetation and monitored wildlife, due to our fire department and the Idaho National Guard biologists working to preserve this area."
During a tour of the OCTC, Tactical Air Control Party Master Sgt. Douglas Brock from the 124th Air Support Operations Squadron called in air strike locations to A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots above to emphasize the capabilities of close air support with ground forces, similar to a deployed environment. This also highlighted to the key leaders the joint relationship between the Army and the Air National Guard working together in a combat situation.
"We are extremely fortunate here in Idaho to have Gov. Little embrace his duties as commander in chief and fully support the men and women of the Idaho National Guard," said Garshak.