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The 69th Brigade Sentinel from Topeka, Kansas • 1

Topeka, Kansas
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1 I 1 I INFANTRY BRIGADE 1 HH Fourth Edition Kansas Army National Guard Wednesday, March 31, 1976 tfSteflb, i Iter jiitE JJJy), 'JLl'JuL )L Of feiH oE IB M-60 Tank M-l 13 Armored Personnel Carrier 69th reorganized; going mec General Kennedy said: "I am very pleased to have LTC Strukel as the new commander. Even though this job will present some enormous challenges, I think LTC Strukel is the best man I have for the job" With the announcement of the addition of a new tank battalion and reorganization the National Guard Bureau announced the 69th Brigade will now go to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The Brigade this AT76 will be minus the new "tankers" who are scheduled to go to Fort Riley, Kansas. The dates for AT76 will be 7-22 August. General Kennedy, in response to Sentinel reporter inquires, said "The additions will be the M-113 and M-114 armored personnel carriers and scout vehicles.

The 2d Bn 130th Field Artillery will see its 105 MM towed howitzer exchanged for the 155 MM self-propelled guns. A small increase in authorized strengths will also be occurring to the 2nd 130th. The 169th support battalion will experience a sizeable increase in strength especially in the areas of maintenance. Also, there will be additional tank recovery vehicles. The new tank battalion is commanded by LTC Jack Strukel, former 3rd battalion 137th Inf.

Commander. Riley, Kansas. As part of the reorganization there is scheduled to be built as an equipment site, a facility at Fort Riley. The new complex will have maintenance and other capabilities as well as a storage. The addition of the Armor battalion is the first step in the re-organization of the 69th which will eventually become completely mechanized.

With mechanization there will be many changes in the structure strength and equipment of the Brigade. Changes which will affect the 1st and 2nd battalion of the 137th will be increases in strength from 738 authorized to 782 authorized. Principal equipment over-all effect of re-organization will be substantial. For example, most wheeled vehicle Mechanic MOS' will be changed to Tracked Vehicle mechanics. A pleasant change will be that many enlisted grades will increase one rank due to the greater equipment responsibility.

Kennedy further expressed the hope that the conversion to a mechanized infantry brigade would lead to the eventual affiliation with the "Big Red One" (1st Inf. Div. Fort Riley). General Kennedy also said that a substantial amount of training during AT will be devoted to familiarization with the mechanical equipment for the upcoming conversion. Inf Brigade will be commissioned and made up from what was the 891st Engineer Battalion (combat) with headquarters in Manhattan Kansas.

The new Armor Battalion will have elements in Manhattan, Concordia, Clay Center, Beloit, Abilene and Salina. The new armor battalion will be authorized 487 enlist men, 3 Warrant Officers and 34 Officers. The main weapons system will be 43 M-60 tanks, a veteran of Korea and Vietnam. Also included in the equipment inventory will be the M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier and M-114 Scout Vehicle. Training for the new tankers will be conducted in the Armories and at Fort Governor Robert F.

Bennett announced in Topeka the re-organization of the 69th Brigade. As part of the national military plans, the National Guard Bureau directed the re-organization which will also effect other units of the Kansas Army National Guard. Brigadier General Thomas J. Kennedy in his staff briefing on 17 January 1976, outlined the effect on the Brigade. The 3rd Battalion, 137th Infantry, headquartered at Iola, will become reorganized and redesignated as the 891st Batalion (combat) Kansas Army National Guard.

A new unit, 1st BN, 635th Armor, 69th Year of decision Brigade gains member they can be most useful to themselves and their unit during their term of service. Those who qualify and decide to enlist are then eligible to take advantage of the numerous benefits given to men and women in the National Guard. One of the major selling points used by recruiters is that one can enjoy civilian life while contributing to the welfare of both community and country. Service in the National Guard allows men and women to be part of a "prestige" organization that is older than the nation itself and has served with distinction in every war. The pay scale for new members is also an effective recruiting tool, according to most fulltime recruiters.

When compared with other part time jobs available, a new enlistee can do very well. For two days work each month he can earn more than $48. Opportunities for indivudual advancement are available through special schools. Guardsmen can attend regular Army technical schools, on a voluntary basis, with full pay and allowances, to qualify for both military and civilian careers. At the same time they can acquire new skills and leadership abilities.

Cooperation between most employers and guard members is such that conflicts seldom need to arise. If a person is transfered in his civilian occupation he can easily transfer to a new National Guard unit in his new hometown. Benefits are also good for high school seniors who join. They may be deferred from active duty for up to 270 days until after completing high school. Money earned in the guard can help pay for college expenses and the experiences gained on active duty can assist in adjusting to college life.

Contacts made in the national guard may also be beneficial in obtaining civilian employment or serving with the guard on a full time basis. Retirement benefits now begin at age 60 and include such things as retirement pay, medical and dental treatment, Post and Base Exchange priviledges, legal services and the use of military facilities. Additionally low cost insurance policies are available to all guardsmen. All of these benefits and more make belonging to the National Guard more than just a part time job. It actually becomes a whole new career that offers a change of pace from the daily routine.

The of Decision" is at hand and the National Guard is looking for qualified men and women. ETS or Re-enlist? It could be one of the most important decisions a person has to make this year. "The year of Decision" might be an appropriate term for 1976. This year several hundred members of the 69th Brigade will be completing their original six year obligation. Their decision to ETS or re-enlist will affect not only the brigade but also their own personal lives.

It is estimated that more than 125,000 members of the Army National Guard nationwide were "draft-motivated" when they joined. Many in the 69th Brigade very likely enlisted for this reason. As a result recruiting and retention is now receiving even more emphasis than in recent years. Captain Bill Stafford of HHC, who recently spent two weeks on active duty as a recruiter, explained the basic approach being taken. "We have four areas of concern Non Prior Service (NPS) personnel, those with prior service, people who will ETS in three months and those who recently ETS'ed." Equal emphasis is placed on all four groups by those engaged in full time recruiting.

Although pressure is on to keep strength levels high the standards for entering the National Guard have not been lowered. "If anything, they are becoming stricter," points out Captain Stafford. "This is especially true with prior service personnel. If they have any bad time on their records it must all be cleared before even considering these individuals for membership in the National Guard." This emphasis on high standards is supported by Major General Charles A. Ott Director of the Army Guard.

In the November issue of The National Guardsman, MG Ott said the National Guard needs to improve its physical appearance. He cited "obesity and grooming and uniform violations as possible problem areas that need improvement." Subsequently he has urged the release of those Guardsmen who would not be "mobilization assests" because of a need "to improve the credibility and mobilization posture." These feelings are shared by CPT Stafford and others as they go over the lists of names of those who are earing ETS or recently completed their six year obligation. These same standards are applied to prior service and non prior service personnel. Those interested in the welfare of the Brigade aid in this screening process when they offer names of possible enlistees to recruiters. Once a contact is made the individuals are given information regarding the National Guard's program and organization.

Prospective members then take a battery of tests to help determine where The 69th Infantry Brigade gained a new member July 1 when the 135th Signal Platoon was commissioned "to provide exterior communication for the Brigade." Their responsibility is to be the necessary link in upward communication between the Brigade Commander and the Adjutant General. They also will supply communication to the support units of the brigade. The 135th is commanded by lLt. Walter Schumm He is assisted by PSG Stephen Maxwell and the unit AST, Sergeant Lanny Logan. The unit has an authorized strength of 51 and is actively recruiting to reach full strength.

Members of the 135th will he highly visible, wearing orange baseball caps, approved by the brigade. To achieve their objectives the 135th has two types of communication teams. There are six Mobile Microwaves and three High Frequency RATT (Radio and Teletype) teams. Each microwave team has a team chief, two operators and one technician. The RATT teams are headed by a sergeant who has three operators.

Together they give the 135th the capability to communicate by voice, teletype or television. The unit started out with a small nucleus from HHC and has been gradually increasing. Since their inception last summer, they have added former Air Force and Navy personnel with some experience in communication as well as some Try One's, regular six year enlistees and present members of the 69th looking for a new 'challenge. The unit was assisted in its training by SGT Phil Barber from Fort Gordon, Georgia. He attended the November and December drills to instruct the 135th in the use of its equipment.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the ability and attitude of these people. They are very eager to learn and are motivated to a high degree," SGT Barber said. "I came here expecting a discipline problem, but instead have found a group of men and women who have learned quickly and proficiently." Much of this success is undoubtedly a result of the leadership of Lt. Schumm, the only person in the unit with any prior experience in signal communications. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Lt.

Schumm received his B.S. in physics in 1972 from William and Mary and was commissioned a Second Luietenant. He was an honor graduate of both the Signal Officer Basic Course at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and the Com- Members of 135th Signal Platoon set up VHF transmission equipment. majority of their time in the classroom learning as much as possible about their jobs in the signal Platoon. Slots are now available to both men and women in the 135th.

They are also willing to talk to people whose six year obligation is ending, but would like to try a new military occupation. The "Help Wanted No Experience Necessary" sign is out. If you're interested in being part of a new unit contact Lt. Schumm, PSG Maxwell or Sgt. Logan.

munications and Electronics Staff Officer Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Lt. Schumm later served as the platoon leader of the 121st Signal Battalion at Fort Riley. He became Assistant Battalion Communications Officer for the 1st Bn, 5th Field Artillery prior to leaving the service in 1974. A current graduate student at Kansas State University, Lt.

Schumm joined the Kansas National Guard in September, 1974. The 135th is pushing the social aspect of National Guard life and has taken as its theme "The Unit is a family affair." They have already had several special functions involving the husbands, wives and children of unit members. An example of this attitude is PSG Maxwell's wife, Margaret, who is attending NCO Academy, to prepare herself to more readily assist the 135th. The unit will be taking its annual training this year at Fort Gordon from August 8-22. They will be spending the.

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