NEWS | March 17, 2023

Utah educators fly on Black Hawk helicopters over Salt Lake and Utah counties

By Ileen Kennedy Public Affairs

Educators from Salt Lake and Utah Counties were given the chance to fly high on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with members of the Utah National Guard’s 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment; and Recruiting and Retention Battalion, as part of a Centers of Influence event at Camp Williams, Utah, March 16, 2023.

High School principals, counselors, teachers, administrators, and others attended the event to become familiar with the opportunities, scholarships, and resources the Utah National Guard offers. The educators were given an overview of some of the Guard’s capabilities and things the Guard can provide in addition to what can be provided by their communities.

“I’m excited to learn all of the details so I can make sure that my students know all of their opportunities,” said Sara Pouha, lead counselor at Taylorville High School. “Just last week I was walking through, and they (UTNG Recruiters) had pull-up competitions going on and they had a huge crowd gathered around. So that draws attention, and then [the recruiters] can share some of the activities that our students might not know about.”

Army Undersecretary Gabe O. Camarillo told senators this week that research shows that most of today's young adults are unaware of what it means to serve in the military, with 75 percent possessing little-to-no knowledge about the service.

The Army, he said, "faces a knowledge gap, a relatability gap, a trust gap and a culture gap," with the most significant barriers to service being fears of death or injury, suffering psychological harm, and leaving behind friends and family.

The Pentagon has attributed its difficulties in recruiting to a variety of factors, including the nation's low unemployment rate, school closings during the coronavirus pandemic that limited recruiters' access to high school students and faculty, and a shifting culture in which more teens gravitate to jobs with an attractive work-life balance.

Lt. Col. Toby Adamson, commander, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, was one of the guest speakers at the COI event that helped educators become familiar with the opportunities and resources the Utah National Guard has to offer their students.

“This is the first time we have invited high school administrators and counselors – the people that have that center of influence on high school students – and brought them out here for an orientation of what we have to offer,” said Adamson. “We are a community-based organization. That citizen Soldier thing really reignites with the Guard."

Additional presenters gave an overview of programs like Freedom Academy, the Minuteman Scholarship, United Families and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery – or ASVAB – is a timed, multi-aptitude, multiple-choice test, that helps students prepare for the ACT. The test helps students to narrow down their interests, building a path to pursue the career field that piques their interest the most. The test also shows how much a living wage is in specific counties and cities in Utah.

“The ASVAB is going to teach you the stuff you need to know to take your SAT or ACT. Based on your score, it can predict what your ACT score is going to be within two points,” said Adamson. “And then on top of that, it’s really the interpretation of your score because it’s an aptitude test. It says you will do well in this area or in that area. It tells you what jobs you are going to do well, and then it provides you with a career path or a path to go ‘well if I want this job, I have to do x y and z to get there.’ The point that really ties in is the financial literacy side of it. How much does it take to live in American Fork, Provo or Salt Lake? You need to be making $20 an hour to afford an apartment, food and all those things that I don’t think kids this age – sophomores to seniors – understand that.”

 A few educators that attended said that this was their first time learning about the

United Family program of Parole in Place, where their students, and the families of those students, could become United States citizens in as little as three to six months. The program offers solutions and benefits for those families desiring to become citizens.

“I’m a big proponent of Parole in Place. I think it’s huge for our underprivileged kids. Whether they are Latino, Hispanic, Polynesian, or wherever they come from, I think we can get them on the fast track to citizenship for themselves and their families,” said Adamson. “Our program gives them citizenship, insurance, and other resources that will help them better themselves in the community. That’s truly what we are here for. It’s to better our communities, better our relationships with our communities and partners and provide opportunities for everyone.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the committee chairman, defended the military's work to promote diversity.

"Let me be clear: Diversity and inclusion strengthen our military," Reed said. "By every measure, America's military is more lethal and ready than it has ever been. It is also more diverse and inclusive than ever before. This is not a coincidence."

After receiving the overview brief about the Utah National Guard and programs that the Guard offers to help their students – whether they join the military or not – these COI educators walked away with a better understanding and tools that they can use and teach for the success of their students.

“I have so much admiration for the people who serve our country. If you are going to allow people into your school, I think it’s important to know what the kids are being recruited into,” said Peter Glahn, the principal of American Fork High School. “I think there are a lot of misgivings, and maybe some false information about military service, and I’d love to be able to speak to that. If there are any parents with concerns about anything, I’d love to be able to answer any questions anyone has if they come to me. I’m proud of our service people.”

Additional Centers of Influence flights are planned this year for educators in Sanpete, Iron, Washington, Cache, Box Elder and Weber Counties.


Your Career Starts Here

Freedom Academy delegates perform a customized group chant at Camp Williams on the morning of July 20th, 2023. Since 1961 the Utah National Guard and Honorary Colonels Corps have sponsored Freedom Academy, providing a challenging and engaging environment designed to teach high school leaders from across Utah the importance of freedom and highlight the military and governmental functions that are critical to its survival.
Utah National Guard hosts Freedom Academy 2023
By Sgt. Christine Hoskins | July 20, 2023
High school students from across the state of Utah assembled at Camp Williams for a week of learning, honing leadership skills, developing friendships, finding deeper purpose, and solidifying their understanding of freedom,...

Senior Airman Kevin Buckner (middle), fire protection with the 151st Civil Engineering Squadron, Utah National Guard, carries a pineapple while rucking more than six miles for the mystery event during the Region VII Best Warrior Competition on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, May 7-11, 2023. The Best Warrior Competition is an annual Army-sponsored event designed to measure the Soldier’s physical fitness, mental acuity, and demonstrated skill in warrior tasks and battle drills. The Soldier and Noncommisioned Officer of the Year for the region will advance to the All Guard National Best Warrior Competition in Alaska.
Utah Airman keeps up with region’s top Soldiers at Best Warrior Competition
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack | May 12, 2023
Senior Airman Kevin Buckner, a fire protection journeyman with the 151st Civil Engineering Squadron, winner of the Soldier of the Year category at this year’s Utah National Guard Best Warrior Competition, impressed everyone...

Spc. Justin Webber, a food service specialist assigned to the 19th Special Forces Group Support Battalion, prepares a soup during the “Final Four” of the Philip A. Connelly Competition at Camp Williams, Utah, February 25, 2023. Webber was one of several 19th Soldiers who supported the 1457th Forward Support Company, 1457th Engineer Battalion, Utah National Guard. (US Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stowell)
Utah Guardsmen Among Top Cooks in the Country
By Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stowell | March 9, 2023
Soldiers assigned to and supporting the 1457th Forward Support Company, 1457th Engineer Battalion, Utah National Guard, participate in the “Final Four” of the Philip A. Connelly Competition at Camp Williams, Utah, February...

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Zahm (right) and Master Sgt. Shaundra Andress (left) communicate about an upcoming project for the base comm office. (Air National Guard photo by: Tech Sgt. Nicholas Perez)
16 Key Principles of Effective Communication
By Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Perez | Feb. 23, 2023
Effective communication is crucial to success in any field, but it is imperative in the military. In high-stakes, dynamic environments, clear and accurate communication is essential for ensuring the safety of troops, the...

Utah National Guard’s 300th Military Intelligence Brigade held its 34th annual Military Intelligence Language Conference on Feb. 11, 2023. As part of the conference more than 140 competitors from 25 different organizations participate in the Polyglot Games. The competition is conducted in seven different languages and follow every step of the intelligence cycle, from the operations order to a final commander's brief as they translate battlefield recordings and news reports, exploit documents to identify and destroy enemy equipment, and assess possible enemy courses of action.
Utah National Guard hosts world’s largest Polyglot Games at the MI Language Conference
By Master Sgt. Samantha Xanthos | Feb. 11, 2023
Competitors from multiple organizations came from across the country to participate in this year’s Polyglot games, hosted by the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade. More than 140 participants from 25 different organizations...

The Utah Air National Guard honor their outstanding nominees during the Airmen of the Year banquet at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center on Jan. 7th, 2023. The Airmen of the Year award program is designed to recognize Airmen who display superior leadership, job performance and personal achievement.

(Air National Guard photo by: Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock)
Utah Air National Guard Honors the Airmen of the Year 2022
By Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock | Jan. 10, 2023
The Utah Air National Guard celebrated its Airmen of the Year during a banquet held in their honor at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center Jan. 7, 2023 in West Valley City, Utah.The Airmen of the Year award program is...

Utah National Guard members repel with the help of their civilian counterparts during a Utah National Guard FEMA Region VIII Homeland Response Force training exercise on Camp Williams, Utah, Nov. 5, 2022. The event featured multiagency interoperability training for the Utah National Guard and civilian partner agencies to provide initial and follow-on care to stranded and injured citizens in the event of a natural or human-caused emergency. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alejandro Lucero)
Utah National Guard Hosts Multi-Agency Disaster Response Exercise
By Capt. Megan Tidwell | Nov. 5, 2022
The Utah National Guard’s Domestic Operations Office; in conjunction with the state of Utah Emergency Operation Center, Division of Emergency Management, conducted a multi-agency training event at Camp Williams in Bluffdale,...

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Oct. 26, 2022. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr. Gary Harter, executive director for the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, and Mr. Jon Pierpont, chief of staff to the governor and former executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, also received the ESGR Seven Seals Award.
ESGR Presented Awards to Civic Leaders
By Maj. Chris Kroeber | Oct. 27, 2022
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Wednesday. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr...

Sgt. Maurice Manns II with the 204th Maneuver  Enhancement Brigade, emerges for a breath during the swimming portion of the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge , conducted at Camp Williams, Utah Oct. 16, 2022. This year’s competition offers an opportunity for competitors to earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. The Utah National Guard Best Warrior Competition is an annual event that brings together Soldiers and Airmen from the major commands to compete for the title of Soldier/Airman-of-the-Year, Noncommissioned Officer-of-the-Year and Senior NCO-of-the-Year. The Army winners of this competition will represent the Utah Army National Guard at the Region VII Best Warrior Competition next spring.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon)
UTNG Best Warrior Competition Presents Top Competitors
By Spc. Shae Cox | Oct. 24, 2022
Twenty-three Soldiers and Airmen battled mental and physical challenges as they competed for the title of Soldier/Airman of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Senior NCO of the Year, during the Utah National...

The Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducts Funeral Honors for the surviving family of U.S. Army Air Corps Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips, an Airman who was killed 79 years ago during World War II. Family from several states, friends, first responders, and service members gathered to render respect during the funeral at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack)
Utah Honor Guard Provides Funeral Honors for WWII Airman
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack | Oct. 13, 2022
Soldiers and Airmen in the Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducted funeral honors for Phillips at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. Family, friends, other service members, and first...