Perdue: Military service is 'family commitment' in N.C.
Posted March 14, 2009 12:23 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2009 2:20 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Bev Perdue pledged Saturday that her budget will include "specific investments" to support National Guard members and their families.
"In North Carolina, we know that military service is a family commitment," Perdue said in a video announcement posted on her e-Townhall site.
"When family members head off on an extended deployment, support from the homefront isn't just a comfort; it can really be a necessity," she continued.
Perdue said that her budget continues to give $1 million for recreation and family services on Fort Bragg, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Cherry Point and Camp Lejuene.
A new item budget provides $2 million for National Guard Family Assistance Centers in Greenville and Lenoir. The centers would give Guard families better access to military benefits and support programs, the governor said.
"For many of our National Guard families, the support services that we offer to regular military just aren't there," Perdue said.
Another $200,000 would fund the state Kids on Guard program. It holds activities for children of National Guard members to meet each other and also makes trained family-life consultants available to children.
"Have you ever thought about the children of those deployed in our National Guard units?" Perdue said. "Those little kids wake up every morning and go to bed at night without their mom or dad. The parent isn’t there for a soccer game or a Little League game, a school play or even a bedtime story."
Perdue argued that such increases in support are necessary to help the families of the 12,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen that have been deployed overseas since Sept. 11, 2001.
"Many of our Guard members been deployed more than once. They leave their jobs and their family and their friends behind," Perdue said. "They are indeed the citizen-soldiers that the heroes and the she-roes owe cherish and are very grateful for."
She cited the example of the the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion of the 130th Regiment, which will hold its deployment ceremony at Broughton High School Sunday. After training at Fort Hood in Texas, the unit, which is equipped with the Apache Longbow helicopters, will serve in Iraq.
It will bring the number of North Carolina Guard members on federal active duty to nearly 4,500. The state has about 11,800 members in the Army and Air Force Guard.
The 1-130th previously served in Afghanistan, where they became the first National Guard helicopter unit to engage in combat with and destroy enemy units since the Vietnam War.
"We wish them success and God speed in their mission," Perdue said.