NH officials get unique perspective on National Guard training exercise

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July 22, 2013, 10:33 pm
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(NECN: Lauren Collins, Fort Drum, N.Y.) - In a matter of seconds two rockets are fired with extreme precision, leaving a crowd in awe.  

The high mobility rocket system, or HIMARS, is state of the art weaponry, but it's useless if soldiers aren't trained on it.  

"This is a reminder of how important this training, having the resources to do the training so the guardsmen and women are ready when we need them," says New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan.

Granite State lawmakers and employers flew to Fort Drum, N.Y. Monday aboard two KC-135 refueling tankers and got a unique perspective on this New Hampshire National Guard training exercise.  

"The end state we're looking for is really to educate them on what our soldiers do in the field," says Brigadier General Craig Bennett, commander of the New Hampshire Army National Guard. "On the way back we'll have a chance to refuel in mid-flight to give people an understanding on a strategic level what their military, what their National Guard is doing for them and their tax dollars."

The guard is also hoping to remind employers what they're getting when they hire a citizen-soldier.    
Geno Anctil knows all too well, "You get the integrity, you get the leadership skills."

Anctil is a veteran who works with current and former service members at Southern New Hampshire University.  

"It's an asset to any veteran that comes through to have the employer outreach to make a great connection between military service and transitioning into a civilian lifestyle."  

Community connections are incredibly important for veterans. A supportive family and employer can literally save a life for a service member who's just come home. But the need for that support, and continued training, doesn't end when the war does, which is why the Guard wants to keep the public plugged in as the nation transitions to peace time.

"I think it's going to be incredibly important for us to continue to tell the story of how productive, effective, and efficient the New Hampshire National Guard really is," says the Governor.

Tags: New York, Lauren Collins, New Hampshire National Guard , Maggie Hassan, Fort Drum, Brigadier General Craig Bennett
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