” They train to the same standards as their active-duty counterparts and cost 60 percent less to maintain. Yet after years of defending freedom in Afghanistan, Arizona’s citizen-soldiers are being told they are unworthy of operating the Army’s premier attack helicopter.
Army leaders recently revealed a plan to take away all 192 National Guard AH-64D Apache attack helicopters (24 assigned to Arizona), asserting that Guardsmen aren’t as ready to perform attack aviation missions as the active duty. That claim is inaccurate and statistically unproven.
Adding insult, proponents of the Army’s plan say that the Guard can’t be trusted with the demands of an Apache mission and that Guard units were tasked with “less complex missions” upon arrival to the combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fact: the 403 Arizona Guardsmen assigned to the 1-285th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Silverbell Army Heliport in Marana flew the full spectrum of combat operations and fought valiantly in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. They also supported two company-sized deployments to Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013. Our Guardsmen flew the same missions as active-duty units. On one rotation they provided the sole Apache capability for an entire region of the country. They did this with a flawless safety record.
The surprise so-called cost-cutting move imposes a great fiscal and moral expense. In a fair discussion about cost savings, the National Guard — the most cost-effective component of the Army — should see an increased role in national defense. Instead, amid historic budget challenges and without discussion or compelling reason, the Army intends to gut the National Guard by removing these Apaches and reducing the Arizona Army National Guard by about 800 soldiers.”
Read it all . This is not a cost-cutting move . This is a blatant move to punish the states by an administration that is consolidating it’s power among a few “dependable” forces that it hopes will remain loyal to it when the SHTF and to defang any potential adversaries among the state forces .