Centennial, Colorado –
CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Fleet Master Chief Terrence I. Molidor, the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for Headquarters, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command visited the Colorado National Guard Joint force headquarters in Centennial, Colorado, Feb. 6.
The visit was hosted by CONG Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Lawrence, who briefed Molidor –who is active duty- on some of the basic functions and operations of the National Guard.
Adjutant General for Colorado, Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, praised the relationship between NORCOM and the National Guard.
Referencing some events in recent years in which the CONG and NORCOM have worked together and established a solid foundation for working together, Edwards stated, "Our relationship with NORCOM is phenomenal."
Edwards noted the unbelievable cooperation participating in events together in Jordan, Iceland and wildfires, and working together to support the community.
"We can't do our missions without supporting each other," he said.
Molidor said the Guard is an organization he had not worked with very often except with units on active duty status deployed for federal missions. "The Guard is new to me, other than deployments, but we are similar, we wear the same uniform," he said.
Molidor was introduced to some outstanding Guard members, Staff Sgt. Sean Sean Huffacker, the Airman of the year and Sgt. Benjamin Stocker, the regional winner of the 2014 Best Warrior Competition who went on to represent Colorado in the national event.
Lawrence said his intention was to introduce Molidor to the Guard's operations and processes and open a dialog. Molidor iterated that NORCOM was always prepared to play a supporting role to the Guard and be there when needed, and hand off duties when they are no longer necessary.
Molidor was briefed on the CONG structure, given an overview of the organizational breakdown and the capabilities of Guard units as well as some recent missions.
Molidor, a Navy diver and airborne qualified said that through his active duty experience he's had the experience of being on the ground, "I've got more dirt and sand on me than I have saltwater," he said.
Lawrence went over some history and the foundation of the Guard, and the role of Citizen Soldiers and Airmen, beginning as militias in the Revolutionary War and still defending the U.S. as well as assisting in state emergencies.
Molidor pushed the importance of knowing the U.S. Constitution, and said military members have a responsibility to know what it says, "If we're going to die for a piece of paper, we should read it," he said.
The briefing covered the topics unique to the guard, such as dual status, the difference between traditional Guardsmen and active Guard and Reserve members, as well as the purpose and functions of the full time support staff.
Lawrence talked about the organizational layout and went into operations regarding disaster relief missions –something the Colorado Guard has heavily participated in particularly in recent years. The Guard has augmented state and local resources fighting wildfires, search and rescue and the unique project of rebuilding U.S. Highway 36 in an efficient and timely manner so that citizens had an access roadway during winter months.
He went over the different capabilities and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact process, a national mutual aid partnership agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during governor- or federally-declared emergencies. The dual status commander role was discussed, which is stood up in times of disaster relief when National Guard and active duty forces are required.
The State Partnership Program was discussed, and the importance of Colorado relationships with Jordan and Slovenia. During the visit Edwards went on to give an interview regarding Colorado and their Jordanian allies in the struggle against ISIS.
Molidor received a tour of the joint operations center from Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Schnabel. The briefing included the positions and functions that take place within the JOC and examples of search and rescue missions. Schnabel highlighted the process and talked about a recent event with a flight for life helicopter that did not have a hoist to access a distressed hiker and needed to use the Guard for the rescue. He said this is something fairly unique to Colorado, due to the frequency of Guard –specific equipment required to save people distressed in mountainous areas.
Molidor left his counterparts more knowledgeable on the functions and faces of the CONG, and said, "On behalf of NORAD and NORCOM, if there's anything we can do for you, here on the ground I'm an hour away, let me know."