Guardsmen gather for annual conference

Kentucky National Guard Staff Report

Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Vice Chief of the National Guard speaks to Kentucky Guardsmen during the National Guard Association of Kentucky annual conference in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 11, 2017. Hokanson discussed the future of the National Guard and the importance of readiness and adaptability of today's Guardsmen. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau speaks to Kentucky Guardsmen during the National Guard Association of Kentucky annual conference in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 11, 2017. Hokanson discussed the future of the National Guard and the importance of readiness and adaptability of today’s Guardsmen. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Key leadership of the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard attended this year’s National Guard Association of Kentucky’s (NGAKY) annual conference in Louisville, Feb. 11. This is the 86th annual NGAKY conference and brings together key officer leadership from around the Commonwealth to recognize and discuss issues and concerns with manpower, equipment and military unit structure for the future.

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Hundreds of Guardsmen were on hand to hear the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, as the keynote speaker. Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Stephen Hogan also addressed the crowd with remarks on the future of the Guard.

Hokanson and Hogan both stressed the importance of readiness in the National Guard and its adaptability in a changing world environment. With so many unit leaders in the room, Hogan reminded them of their role in shaping Kentucky’s Citizen-Soldiers for the unexpected.

“What we are trying to do is prepare individuals for combat,” said Hogan. “So my question to you is, can you fight? Can your Soldiers fight? Are you confident enough, are you fit enough, are you qualified enough for the battlefield? It can’t wait until combat, it needs to start from day one.”

Additionally, retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association of the United States and Kentucky Representative Tim Moore spoke to the group.

The event also set the stage as Kentucky prepares to host the 139th National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) conference in Louisville this September, with attendees from across the 54 states and territories descending upon the city for the 4-day event.

Maj. John Harvey, the outgoing president of NGAKY said Kentucky has to improve its membership and expects the national conference will help that goal.

“This association has a lot of room to grow, but the steps we’re taking in preparation for hosting on a national level is admirable,” said Harvey. “It’s an exciting time for the NGAKY.”

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