To the Soldiers, Airmen and Civilian Employees of the New Hampshire National Guard:
Two months into the new year, it’s all hands on deck as we continue to support pandemic relief operations. Last week, our vaccination sites set a single-day record administering more than 5,800 vaccines. That brings the total to more than 100,000.
With nearly 800 NHNG soldiers and airmen currently activated, we’ve surpassed our previous high of 740 from last May. New Hampshire now has the highest percentage of guardsmen on duty in the country.
It’s no surprise many of you are feeling the strain of long hours and cold days. Others have had to put civilian careers or college on hold with no clear end in sight.
Your commander-in-chief, Gov. Chris Sununu, and I realize the extraordinary sacrifices you’ve made. We also want to reaffirm that each of you play an essential role in vanquishing COVID-19, whether you are working traffic control at a vaccination site, helping an anxious caller schedule an appointment or delivering a critical supply of PPE to a local business. The Granite State needs you now more than ever for what we hope will be the final push in this long and grueling crisis.
You have proven to be dependable, adaptable, and perhaps most importantly, sympathetic. The citizens of New Hampshire could not be more grateful. “Professional,” “courteous,” “thoughtful,” “kind,” and “considerate” are a few of the superlatives they’ve used to describe your performance through letters, emails, phone calls and tweets. Many have taken time to single out by name soldiers and airmen who were especially thorough.
Under our mission triad of Fighting and Winning America’s Wars, Securing the Homeland, and Building Enduring Partnerships, you continue to execute. In January, a NHNG security contingent of 52 soldiers and airmen deployed to Washington, D.C. as part of a massive Guard muster to support the Presidential inauguration. Three refuelers from Pease conducted 47 sorties transporting 1,100 personnel and 87,000-pounds of equipment to and from the nation’s capital. Last week, I visited Task Force Sentinels who I’m happy to report are in good spirits as they continue to excel as part of the Southwest Border Mission in southern California.
One hundred and eighteen soldiers from our Mountain Infantry Company are mobilized at Fort Bliss, Texas, in final preparation for a nine-month deployment to the Middle East while 15 airmen are performing overseas duties in Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Closer to home, 40 soldiers from the 197th Field Artillery Brigade recently completed a two-week exercise at Ft. Riley, Kansas. They traveled back and forth on one of our refuelers. Earlier this month, the 157th Air Refueling Wing fielded it’s 12th and final KC-46A Pegasus with the appropriate level of fanfare to officially mark the next chapter in the NHANG’s rich legacy of air refueling.
In the midst of these heavy demands, I want to emphasize how important it is to seek help if you are struggling. The FAC’s resource and referral number is 1-877-598-0666, the Airman and Family Readiness Program Coordinator is 603-828-3892, and our Care Coordination Program is 1-888-989-9924. No problem is insurmountable when you realize we are all in this together.
It remains my honor to represent and serve alongside you. Thank you for staying committed. We’re almost there.
Major General David Mikolaities
New Hampshire National Guard