RICHMOND, Va. - Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, announced the Virginia National Guard had a very successful year in the area of strength management. Newman stated, “This is the largest increase in assigned strength the Virginia National Guard has had in many years.”
The Virginia Army National Guard had a net gain of 432 Soldiers during Fiscal Year 2006 which ended Sept. 30, 2006. Newman said the gain in assigned strength during Fiscal Year 2006 is a Virginia Army National Guard success story.
Newman said the assigned strength of the Virginia Army National Guard was 7,466 Soldiers as of Sept. 30, 2006 and it began Fiscal Year on Oct. 1, 2005 with 7,034. He attributed the increase in the Virginia Army National Guard’s assigned strength to enhanced recruiting incentives, an increase in the number of production recruiters working in Virginia, and most importantly, many of Virginia's Guard units having returned from overseas deployments.
Newman pointed out that Gov. Kaine and the General Assembly had been very supportive of the men and women of the Virginia National Guard and that this support was a positive influence on his Soldiers’ decision to remain in the Guard. Gov. Kaine was instrumental in ensuring tuition funds were available for Guardsmen to attend summer semester this past summer. Additionally Gov. Kaine and the General Assembly supported a state funded $2,000 reenlistment bonus and a $500,000 appropriation for the Military Family Relief Fund.
Newman pointed out that the most effective recruiters the Guard has are its Soldiers. When Guard units are deployed, the men and women of those units are not available to recruit. Additionally, Newman suggested that the types of missions the Virginia National Guard has been involved in over the last year have had a positive impact on strength.
“Supporting the Hurricane Katrina, Southwest Border, and Ernesto missions is a strong motivator for many people to enlist in the Guard,” Newman said. He went on to say, “Many of our men and women enlist because they want to serve not only this great nation but also our Commonwealth. The Virginia National Guard gives them the opportunity to do just that.”
According to Newman, the Fiscal Year 2006 strength goal for the Virginia Army National Guard was 7,555 Soldiers. While the Virginia Army Guard fell 89 Soldiers short of the National Guard Bureau goal Newman said, “The Virginia Army Guard has made significant progress from earlier this year when it was over 300 Soldiers short of the goal. I am pleased with the progress we have made and look forward to reaching and then exceeding the 7,555 mark. I have no doubt that we will accomplish this.”
He concluded by saying, “It’s not where we are; it’s where we are going and all of our trends are heading up. All of the Virginia Army Guard has pulled together to make this happen. I am proud of all of these guys”