Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, the Missouri National Guard's adjutant general, gives a Missouri Guard overview to the Leadership Missouri class of 2012 at the Missouri National Guard's headquarters at the Ike Skelton Training Site. Leadership Missouri is a Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry program designed to identify leaders statewide and deepen their knowledge of state issues. (Photo by Sarah Lupescu, Missouri National Guard public affairs office).
By Sarah E. Lupescu
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A group of Missouri residents visited the Missouri National Guard headquarters at Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City as a part of a program to enhance their leadership skills.
The group from Leadership Missouri, a Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry program, received an overview of how the Missouri National Guard functions. To kick off their visit, the group was welcomed by Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard. Danner gave Leadership Missouri a summary of the National Guard.
"The National Guard wears two hats, we have federal and state missions," Danner said. "Our job is to recruit, train, and equip units for federal service. The Guard is also a community-based organization. When bad things happen to good people in Missouri, it's the Guard that's on the scene to assist local responders."
According to Danner, the Guard has a third mission.
"The National Guard is involved in the State Partnership Program," Danner said. "Each of our states has at least one country as a partner. Missouri's partner is Panama."
The State Partnership Program is a tenant of Department of Defense security cooperation and links National Guard states and territories with partner countries for the purpose of fostering mutual interests, establishing habitual long-term relationships and providing international security and stability. Currently there are 63 countries partnered with National Guard states.
The Missouri National Guard officially became Panama's state partner in 1996 and has since conducted over 26 overseas deployments for training missions and over 66 State Partnership Program events.
Leadership Missouri participants had the opportunity to tour the State Emergency Management Agency, located in the basement of the Ike Skelton Training Site.
Tom Masso, the facilities manager at SEMA, explained how the agency functions during a state emergency.
"When the governor declares a state of emergency, we get folks in from the highway patrol, fire safety, the Department of Natural Resources, the Conservation Department, the Missouri National Guard, and numerous other agencies," Masso said.
During a state of emergency, counties in affected areas submit assistance requests to SEMA where the requests are reviewed for support eligibility. In addition to support from state agencies, volunteer agencies can help fill the requests, Masso said.
Leadership Missouri took an orientation flight around Jefferson City on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. They had hands-on training with the M16-A2 rifle on the weapon's simulator. Wrapping up the visit, the Missouri Veterans Commission also presented information to the group and explained the services they offer to Missouri's veterans.
One Leadership Missouri participant, Chris Dunn, said he always wondered what was at the Ike Skelton Training Site.
"I live and work in Jefferson City so I knew the Missouri National Guard headquarters was here," said Dunn, a Missouri State Senate staff member. "It's good to meet the people here, to learn how SEMA operates, and how the organizations come together during state emergencies."
The Leadership Missouri program aims to identify current and emerging leaders throughout the state, enhance their leadership skills, and deepen their knowledge of the state's opportunities and challenges. In April of each year, the selected participants begin a series of seven monthly, two-day sessions.
Sgt. Kirt Orlando, a crew chief on the UH-60 Black Hawk, gives a safety brief to Felix Kwan, a professor of economics at Maryville University, Wanda Mehrhoff, an executive assistant for the Missouri House of Representatives, and other Leadership Missouri members before their orientation flight around Jefferson City. Leadership Missouri is a Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry program designed to identify leaders statewide and deepen their knowledge of state issues. (Photo by Sarah Lupescu, Missouri National Guard public affairs office).
Chris Robertson, the Missouri National Guard's webmaster and 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment member, demonstrates how to correctly hold an M16-A2 rifle to Leadership Missouri members. Leadership Missouri is a Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry program designed to identify leaders statewide and deepen their knowledge of state issues. (Photo by Sarah Lupescu, Missouri National Guard public affairs office).
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please visit www.moguard.com and our social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.moguard.com/blog; www.pinterest.com/monationalguard/