Today is National Guard Day. You will see men and women in uniform throughout the Capitol today, along with demonstrations and displays of the Guard’s state-of-the-art military equipment and programs in the East Wing Rotunda.
We will be honoring the 19,000 brave men and women of the Guard with a Senate resolution that salutes their enduring commitment to this Commonwealth and this country. With many soldiers and airmen still in harm’s way, we thank these protectors for their service and sacrifice, and pray for their safe return home.
This elite force is led by The Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, Maj. General Wesley Craig. General Craig is the face of our Guard and its dual mission to protect freedom and save lives both here and abroad. Like the citizen-soldiers he leads, General Craig is highly trained and unceasingly prepared for any crisis or challenge. He exhibits enormous calm in the face of danger, and is both a peacekeeper and a combat soldier, as the need arises.
General Craig has devoted more than 40 years of his distinguished life to the military. He currently leads one of the most deployed National Guard units in the nation.
The reason Pennsylvania is deployed so frequently is simple: As General Craig often says, “It’s because we’re the best.”
Just last week, General Craig led our Commonwealth in his most challenging role of all – mourning the loss of two heroic servicemen who were killed in action in Afghanistan—Chief Warrant Officers Matthew Ruffner and Jarett Yoder.
Matthew and Jarett became our 52nd and 53rd Guardsmen killed in action in the past ten years. That casualty total exceeds the losses suffered by any other state.
While we know the risks of war, each loss is still an agonizing shock to the system and a heartache felt by all of us.
On National Guard Day, and any time we suffer such an unbearable loss, we are reminded: we must never forget the fallen, never neglect their families, and never abandon the survivors who bear the wounds of war, both visible and invisible.
No matter how strong the fiscal pressures on Pennsylvania, we can never weaken our commitment to our veterans.
The Guard’s esteemed leader has been a tireless advocate for that cause. It is my great privilege to present to you Pennsylvania’s 51st Adjutant General, Major General Wesley Craig.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson