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CT National Guard Members Give Tour to Legislators

Posted on September 18, 2023


Bradley Air National Guard Base, Conn.—Connecticut Army and Air National Guard members met with a group of legislators, including Representatives Martin Foncello (R-107) and Mitch Bolinsky (R-106), on Friday to highlight their readiness during this National Hurricane Preparedness Month.

The Connecticut National Guard is funded with about $6 million from the state and $300 million from the federal government. They operate 17 Readiness Centers in Connecticut, six storefront recruiting offices, four maintenance shops, two Army aviation sites, three training sites, one logistic site, two militia sites, and two Air Guard sites. They also have a Military Working Dogs training site in Newtown. The K9s work with TSA, State Police, and Homeland Security.

Foncello is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel with 28 years of service and a former Homeland Security intelligence officer. He was called back to active duty following 9/11 while also serving as Brookfield First Selectman.

“It was great talking with current members of the National Guard to learn the latest about their support missions. Their sense of service and seeing the pride in the work that they do really resonates with me. Technology has certainly changed since I was on active duty during the Vietnam era, and even my time with DHS after 9/11. The men and women here can train for real world scenarios they might face out in the field,” said Foncello.

Major General Francis Evon Jr., Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard, outlined priorities in the upcoming year, including expansion of the tuition waiver/education benefits.

“Touring the facilities of Connecticut’s National Guard, getting hands-on with their equipment, and gaining a better understanding of the very active role they serve was an incredible experience! Most of us civilians know the Guard only in context of our state’s emergency and defense readiness, but they are so much more. They’re about education in valuable skills, career advancement and, for many, a pathway to free college and great careers.”

“Until Friday, I had no idea of the valuable economic contributions of our National Guard. It was fascinating to learn they employ hundreds of highly skilled aerospace professionals, both enlisted and civilian, at the Groton Aviation Support Maintenance Unit, where they keep the helicopter fleets of 14-states flying, with structural re-builds of Blackhawk and Chinook choppers, including full engine rebuild capabilities. I was proud to learn how our Connecticut “Home Team” saves US and CT taxpayers billions of dollars by rebuilding, a far less costly alternative to new replacement of engines and aircraft.”

“I’m grateful to General Evon for this opportunity to get to know the Military Department better, with a first-hand perspective of the agency, service members and challenges, as well as to the women and men of the Guard for their hospitality.”

During the most recent legislative session, the General Assembly approved funding in the budget for recruiting and retention programs and increased the Connecticut Military Department’s construction cost threshold from $2 million to $3 million,