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NH National Guard Demonstrates War Fighting Capabilities

September 29, 2009 -- For Immediate Release
September 29, 2009
Contact: 2LT Andrew Schwab, State Public Affairs Office, 603-225-5132

NH National Guard Demonstrates War Fighting Capabilities

FORT DRUM, NY - The NH National Guard has completed a demonstration of NH's Army and Air National Guard capabilities. The audience for September 22nd's events included state legislators, employers, prior guard members, media representatives, and NH Guard leadership.

Participants flew from Pease Air National Guard base to Fort Drum, New York, aboard two NH Air Guard KC-135 Stratotankers. While in flight, passengers watched as the KC-135 crew refueled a C-5A aircraft, an example of the missions NH Air Guard pilots have been conducting continually since the first Gulf War.

Before the flight left Pease, Maj. Gen. William Reddel, NH National Guard's Adjutant General, emphasized to the participants the involvement of the Air Guard in the Global War on Terror. Since September 11, 2001, the NH Air National Guard has provided ongoing refueling support for aircraft heading into and out of the Middle East. The NH Air Guard also provides refueling support for fighters assigned to protect US cities, part of Operation Nobel Eagle which began immediately after the September 11th attacks.

Arriving at Fort Drum, Army Guard leadership introduced participants to the latest NH Army Guard upgrade, the high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS). Lt. Col. Thomas Spencer, commander of 3rd Battalion, 197th Fires Brigade, explained how HIMARS crew are able to engage targets more quickly and accurately then they could with the older M198 Howitzers. In addition to speed and accuracy, HIMARS also offers greater range and substantially improved mobility.

Following his briefing, the audience watched as three HIMARS trucks rolled into place, fired two rockets each, and then drove away from the launch site. The entire demonstration took only minutes, and the firing was complete in seconds.

HIMARS systems arrived in New Hampshire this spring to replace the M198 Howitzers, a symbol of NH Army National Guard's transformation to a more modern, mobile force. With transformation, NH Army National Guard units have been restructured to operate more independently. Combat units and the support units that keep combat troops in the fight are more tightly knit together. This new structure allows NH Army Guard units to fight more effectively overseas while providing more robust support at home.

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