Kentucky offers final formation for outgoing Guardsmen

By Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Soldiers preparing to exit their term of service or ETS, speak with members of the Kentucky Guard’s personnel office to verify personal records during a final formation event in Frankfort, Ky., July 12, 2015. The Soldiers are required to review their records for accuracy including finance and medical histories. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A new program in the Kentucky National Guard is now providing Soldiers leaving the Service their own opportunity to close, or open the door to a future in the Guard.

Known as the Final Formation, Soldiers preparing for their expiration of term of service or ETS are required to attend the one-day event to either re-up or out-process. This initiative provides a process that enables the Soldiers to out process from the Kentucky National Guard, for personnel staff to work issues, and an opportunity for the senior leadership to affect a Soldier’s decision to reenlist.

“We absolutely want to retain every good qualified Soldier, no doubt,” said Col. Michael Abell, director of the Kentucky Guard’s personnel office. “But for those who have honorably served, whether it was one term or 30 years, we also want to ensure they exit the Kentucky Guard with the same level of detail and care as when they entered.”

The program provides two objectives: 1. To ensure the Soldiers who are going to ETS are provided a transition program and understand the benefits they will retain and the benefits they will lose. 2.  One last appeal to the Soldier to retain highly qualified Soldiers and their experience.

After six years in the Guard, Sgt. Russell Gray from the 223rd Military Police Company has decided to leave to spend more time with his family.

“It’s good to be able to come here and have the opportunity to say your peace, your side of the story and why you’re getting out,” said Gray.

For Pfc. Dillon Morvel, also from the 223rd, the program was a window of opportunity to continue his service to the commonwealth by re-enlisting.

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Lt. Col. Lance Grebe re-enlists Pfc. Dillon Morvel during a final formation event in Frankfort, Ky., July 12, 2015. The final formation program offers Soldiers on last chance to re-up or out-process with assistance from the Kentucky Guard’s personnel office. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“It’s more formal to come to Frankfort to do this,” he said. “Being here really shows you that not only your unit wants you stay in, but your state wants you too.”

“I love being in the Guard, I really enjoy every minute each month,” he added.

Items Covered at the event include: Personal records review, medical records review, Veteran benefits, finance review, retirement planning, and employment services. For those Soldiers retiring, the Final Formation offers a critical piece of their out-processing as all paperwork is reviewed for accuracy and completion.

Kentucky borrowed pieces of the program from other states, after hearing the success stories.  Lt Col. Lance Grebe, transition officer,  said the program is expected to continue indefinitely as Guardsmen ETS monthly.

“I believe one of the biggest misconceptions of Final Formation is we are strictly focused on trying to change Soldiers decisions about discontinuing their service to the Kentucky Army National Guard.  However, the intent of the program is focused on providing Soldiers with a smooth transition out of the military if they choose,” said Grebe. “They have earned it and deserve our attention regardless of their intentions.”

 

 

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