July 23, 2020 –
To the Soldiers and Airmen of the Utah National Guard,
We are living through an unparalleled time in our country when the Utah National Guard has and will continue to be needed on a greater scale than any time in our recent past. Over the past six months, I have been impressed with the incredible response and adaptability of our Soldiers and Airmen to support our local communities, our state and our nation. Regardless of the mission, our role is always to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Whether responding to an earthquake, assisting the state to stem the spread of COVID-19, or protecting the rights of our fellow-citizens to peacefully protest, we are here to faithfully serve our state and nation for as long as needed.
This Pioneer Day, we are reminded of what it means to be a pioneer. A pioneer is not just a person to first settle in a territory like the pioneers of Utah-a pioneer is also a person who opens new lines of thought or originates new methods. So, we are asking all of you, our Soldiers and Airmen, to be pioneers for positive change in this organization.
These past few months, we have felt and witnessed the pain and frustration over social injustice in our nation. As divisiveness currently threatens our nation, it also threatens our organization. The Utah National Guard has a long history of excellence, but we must always seek to be better. We must consistently assess our organization to eliminate divisiveness to become a stronger, more cohesive team and to maintain optimal readiness. To support this effort, the· Utah National Guard is starting the "It Starts with Me" (ISWM) initiative. ISWM is about each of us taking individual responsibility to improve and strengthen our Utah National Guard team. Each one of us can make a difference and together we can make change.
Thank you for your continued service and sacrifice to our state and nation. Each of you are an important and valued member of our team. We are listening and are looking forward to your ideas for this initiative. Join us in being pioneers to foster positive change in our organization, and "it starts with me."
Michael J. Turley
The adjutant General