I want to thank the Point Stadium Awards committee for another great banquet and awards program on Dec. 27 at Ace’s.
Featured speaker and 1973 Point Stadium Award winner Jack Buchan delivered a message that really resonated with those attending.
He spoke of his parents’ influence in his life as well as his teachers’, coaches’ and all those who helped shape his character while playing various sports at Greater Johnstown High School. Buchan highlighted teacher and coach Bob Stramanak’s commitment to him.
Buchan’s message to the young men recognized by the committee for their athletic accomplishments was on the mark in that they seize the moment presented to them. He spoke of owning up to mistakes and always having a Plan B.
I would also like to congratulate the 2013 Point Stadium Award winner, Richland High School senior football player Tanner Solarczyk. Well done, Tanner.
I look forward to next year’s Dec. 19 program.
Johnstown battalion is under attack
The more than 250 members of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 1-104th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, based in Johnstown, may lose their Apache helicopters and a number of them could be furloughed if the Army has its way.
These are the same highly-trained soldiers who recently returned from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan, where they provided aerial support using AH-64 Apache helicopters fighting side-by-side with their active component counterparts.
The Army wants to restructure its aviation fleet by divesting itself from Kiowa helicopters and replacing them with Apache helicopters taken from the Army National Guard.
Consequentially, the removal of 24 Apache’s from our inventory in Johnstown will render the 1-104th a nonmission-capable force when it comes to defending our nation at home and abroad.
In turn, the Army proposes to replace the Apaches with only 12 other aircraft – a 50 percent reduction in the number of aircraft that we have in Johnstown.
Detrimental actions like this prove that the National Guard is still considered ‘second-rate’ by the active component despite us demonstrating our competence and effectiveness over the last 11 years of war.
Taking away highly trained personnel and equipment from the reserve component – which cost a fraction of what it does in the active component to operate – does not make sense for our community, commonwealth or country.
Having worn the uniform for more than 40 years, I, too, have been trained to fight; and fight I will for the skilled and courageous troops of our nation’s reserve forces.
Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig
Adjutant General, Pennsylvania National Guard