Thank a veteran, consider serving your country


Millions of veterans have served in America’s wars, including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Thousands of active and reserve troops currently serve in the war on terrorism, and many more have served during times of peace and in non-combat roles all over the world. Their service and sacrifice is fundamental to securing the freedoms we all enjoy.

But the sobering fact is, fewer than 10 percent of Americans have served — and less than one percent are currently serving. That statistic should be a wake-up call in every community: America needs your service. Indiana needs your service.

Members of the Indiana National Guard don’t just serve in combat missions or exercises overseas. Our women and men serve part-time in every ZIP code. We provide the capacity and expertise to respond to emergencies whenever Gov. Eric Holcomb calls. We are the teachers, lawyers, auto mechanics, marketing executives and first responders you meet at the grocery store or coaching your child’s soccer team. We’re the ones clearing the heavily damaged roads and delivering food during natural disasters.

The Indiana National Guard is able to respond quickly to emergencies because we are dispersed all over the state. Our presence in your communities, and our network of bases, airfields, training facilities and armories across Indiana, also means we have a tremendous impact on the state’s economy.

We employ 13,550 Guardsmen-one of the largest memberships in the nation-because Hoosiers are proud to serve. These jobs, plus the additional jobs we create, employ a total of 17,270 Hoosiers. But we can’t be complacent. Our combined state and federal missions mean we have a constant and growing need for patriots to join our ranks.

A recent economic impact study, available on our website highlights our job creation statistics and shows that the Indiana National Guard was responsible for over half a billion dollars of economic impact in Indiana. Every dollar we spend spurs an additional $0.76 in economic activity for other businesses in the state. And because of the amount of federal funding we bring to Indiana, every dollar of state funding we receive translates into around $42 in economic activity. The report shows our activities created an estimated $27.5 million in state and local government revenues, an additional $46.1 million in federal tax revenue and $440 million in employee compensation.

Veterans will not be surprised that readiness remains our top priority. If the Indiana National Guard is to be prepared to meet our domestic mission while standing ready to deploy, fight and win across the entire spectrum of conflict as part of the U.S. Joint Force, we have to invest in our greatest asset: our people.

This means continuing to emphasize our health, wellness and resiliency programs for current members and veterans. It means modernizing and expanding education and professional development in cyber and other high-skilled occupations. It also means maximizing our potential by embracing a 21st century approach to managing the talent of our soldiers, airmen and civilians-an approach that recognizes individual knowledge, skills and behaviors such as leadership and discipline that can be useful in our citizen-soldiers’ military and civilian careers.

During this 100th anniversary of World War I, I encourage you all to follow the hashtag #KnowYourMil. You may be surprised by what you learn about the brave heroes right here in Indiana-those who are working for you every day, and those whose days of service have passed. And finally, please thank a veteran today for all they have done to protect community and country.

Indiana Adjutant Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr wrote this guest column. Send comments to [email protected]

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