As I reflect back on my 26-year career in the Missouri Army National Guard, I am very proud that I had the privilege of serving with such outstanding and dedicated people. I served in and commanded units that trained side by side with active Army troops. Without exception, these National Guard units performed in an exceptional manner and received high marks from our active Army counterparts.
I was personally involved in the mobilization and deployment of many of our Missouri National Guard units to Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. Time after time, I observed the pride, commitment and professionalism of these brave men and women who, when their country called, went to war and performed in the highest tradition of our nation's military.
Today, we again have a very large number of Guard and Reserve personnel serving on active duty, courageously facing the dangers of war. When presidential candidates or people associated with these candidates imply that being a member of the National Guard or Reserve equates to being a deserter or a traitor, it deeply angers me and it insults every person who is now serving or has ever served in the National Guard or Reserves. And, even worse, when candidates refuse to strongly and unequivocally reject these statements, the assumption must be that they are in agreement.
The brave men and women in the National Guard and Reserves today, or those who have served in the past, deserve much better.
Retired Brig. Gen. Charles E. Kruse
Missouri Army National Guard