By 1st Lt. Rebekah Malone, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard ended the fiscal year with an impressive jump into the number four spot among all other states’ National Guards in overall strength of its force. The Army Guard also claimed the number one ranking in retention mission for the year.
Three years ago the LANG began a turn around after coming in at 38th in the nation at the end of September 2012 with 98.4 percent strength. In 2013, the LANG move up to 20th and last year ranked 15th.
“The Louisiana National Guard’s mission is to respond if our communities, state or federal government call on us,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, the adjutant general of the LANG. “The overall-strength of the Louisiana Guard is a critical piece to the state’s All-Hazard response plan. A ranking of this level is a testament to the hard work of our Guardsmen and the value we place on each member of our organization. If our state or country call on us, we are ready.”
The Louisiana Army National Guard’s fiscal year 2015 end-strength goal of 9,554 Soldier was surpassed with a total of 9,650 Soldiers, or 101.2 percent. The Air National Guard surpassed its 2015 end-strength goal of 1,390 Airmen with 1,496 airmen, or 107 percent of its goal.
“It’s been an amazing experience to watch the Louisiana National Guard grow over the last three years,” said Col. Kenneth Donnelly, commander of the Recruiting and Retention Command. “Today’s Louisiana National Guard members are of the highest quality and they are motivated by the expectation that they will be deployed in service to their state and country. It’s great to see patriotism as the main reason people want to join an all-volunteer force.”
According to Donnelly, a significant role in the success of the Guard’s strength comes from the support of the state, and will help with difficult times ahead due to sequestration.
“The strength milestone of being ranked number four in the nation among 54 states and territories is the direct result of Louisiana’s investment in the Louisiana National Guard, and I truly am thankful to be part of the team,” said Donnelly. “The strength of the Louisiana National Guard will continue to rise.”
The Air Guard has also increased its overall strength over the last four years and exceeded its retention mission as well.
“The Louisiana Air National Guard has climbed from 100 percent strength in 2012 to ending fiscal year 2015 at 107 percent,” said Brig. Gen. Charles Chappuis, assistant adjutant general – Air. “I could not be more proud of each member of the Air Guard and all we have accomplished. We are excited about the future and look forward to our continued success as one of the top organizations in the nation.”