Michigan National Guard honors past and present members during Memorial and Pass in Review event at Camp Grayling on Friday
Fri, 07/31/2020 - 3:26pm caleb
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Michigan National Guard honored past servicemen and servicewomen – including those who have passed away – along with current members during its annual Memorial and Pass in Review event at Camp Grayling Maneuver Training Center on Friday, July 31.
Camp Grayling, along with other National Guard facilities in Michigan, is part of the National All-Domain Warfighting Center, a new name for the areas in which the National Guard trains on land, in water, in the air, in cyberspace, and in space, state officials said.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer attended the event, inspected the troops present on the Camp Grayling Parade Field, participated in a short awards ceremony, and spoke to the servicemen and servicewomen during Friday’s event.
“I am honored to be here with all of you at Camp Grayling today and at the newly minted National All-Domain Warfighting Center to honor the men and women of the Michigan National Guard. I am proud to be a part of the traditions of the Michigan National Guard to help honor the warriors who have fallen and honor the proud history they helped build,” Governor Whitmer said. “Since before World War I, brave men and women trained here in Camp Grayling to face our nation’s adversaries. Panoramic photos of this very parade field show soldiers on horseback, training to safeguard the United States of America. Those warriors would be proud of the legacy you have built in their honor.”
Governor Whitmer praised the Michigan National Guard’s efforts to help with COVID-19 relief efforts, aiding communities affected by the recent failure of Michigan dams, and helping to protect non-violent protesters.
“In 2020 the state of Michigan has asked a lot of our National Guard and you have responded with honor and grit each time to aid your communities,” Governor Whitmer said. “More than 1,100 soldiers and airmen aided communities in every part of the state of Michigan. Michigan National Guard members have helped distribute more than seven million pounds of food at our state’s food banks, delivered tests and protective equipment across the state, and assisted with testing more than 72,000 Michiganders for COVID-19. Your incredible contribution is truly historic.”
“In May, when the Edenville and Sanford dams breached, you responded. Over 130 members of the Michigan National Guard arrived on the scene within hours of being called to assist neighbors facing historic flooding. The relief you brought those communities in their time of need made a profound impact, in the midst of a global pandemic no less,” Governor Whitmer said. “Only days later you responded with great professionalism to assist the communities of Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo to safeguard the right to peacefully protest in this face of civil unrest. Your compassion and service are why the Michigan National Guard is a cornerstone of Michigan’s communities.”
“I’m energized by the way you honor the legacy of your past, serve with honor in the present, and prepare for the future. The innovative training here that you host at the National All-Domain Warfighting Center is preparing all who participate to succeed in future warfighting, training in air, land, maritime, cyber, and space domains,” Governor Whitmer said.
“I want to thank each of the 11,000 members of the National Guard for your commitment to securing our freedom, your commitment to your family members, and the commitment of your family members for supporting you. I want to take a moment to recognize the sacrifice of the deployed members of the Michigan National Guard serving overseas, and lastly I want to express my gratitude to the fallen members we are here honoring this morning,” Governor Whitmer said.
Major General Paul D. Rogers, Michigan National Guard Adjutant General, also spoke during the 2020 Memorial and Pass in Review at Camp Grayling on Friday.
“This event serves two purposes. One is to memorialize the lives and the service of the men and women who served before us, some of which were serving with us when we lost them. We stand on their shoulders. We train on their training ground. We serve in their formations. We carry on their legacy of service, devotion, and commitment to the values of this nation and this state,” said Major General Rogers. “Today we stand 11,000 strong between the army and the air but if you lay that out over the last 100 years there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of like-minded Americans who set aside their own personal choice to serve our nation and serve our state and swear an oath to our constitution and put their lives on the line, put their time to serve above their time for pleasure. You carry on that tradition. We are so proud of each and every one of you.”
Major General Rogers also recognized the communities that support the Michigan National Guard.
“We are a community-based organization. We serve in our communities, we recruit from our communities, we live and work in our communities, and without our communities’ support, we could not be the organization we are today. We honor them each and every day through our professionalism and our service. We owe our strength and our support to our communities and we can not forget the role they played each and every day in what we do,” said Major General Rogers.
The Adjutant General said Michigan National Guard soldiers have done well in navigating through the coronavirus pandemic.
“We entered into this spring/summer understanding that this was very different than in the past. We had a pandemic to adjust to, not hide and run in fear of, but to adjust, to measure the risks, to take the proper precautions, and I want to compliment you. You executed an annual training in June with close to 1,500 individuals. We’ve deployed close to 1,000 individuals overseas, and then for this exercise, when other states bowed out, you showed up. Your commitment to the mission, your commitment to training, your discipline in following the social distancing, the wearing of masks, the washing of your hands, those basics protected you, and it’s our obligation to protect you, protect your family; it’s our obligation to protect the communities in which we serve, and it’s our obligation to protect the mission,” said Major General Rogers.
“This year our mission was to continue to train, to continue to prepare our readiness, to answer the call to service, to deploy and to defend the constitution of the United States, and support the national security interests of the United States. You did it with excellence and across all of those missions you did it without significant exposure to COVID as a result of your discipline. Too many organizations across this country cancelled training. You adjusted to COVID, you overcame COVID, and you successfully trained,” said Major General Rogers.
Major General Rogers finished his speech by explaining the importance of Camp Grayling and the National All-Domain Warfighting Center.
“We have phenomenal facilities. It started with the Hanson family. They gave us the tract of land here to form the basis of Camp Grayling. That has expanded over time and when you look at the uniqueness of Camp Grayling, the uniqueness of our Alpena (Combat Readiness Training Center), and the airspace that envelops all of it, we have an all-domain training capability, something that does not exist in any other area in the country, so we took efforts this year to recognize that capability,” said Major General Rogers. “All-domain is the environment in which we face today. We must be prepared to fight on land, in the air, on the sea, but also in cyberspace and space, cyber and space. Michigan has the ability to train and exercise across all five domains. We are a national asset. We are a national capability, and when you bring that all together, we are the National All-Domain Warfighting Center. You will be at the forefront of setting the standard for warfighting and training and assessing advanced technologies going forward into the future.”