Iowa Guard Soldier Helps Community with Virtual Instruction

Spc. Taylor Lenhart, a military police Soldier with the 186th Military Police Company, Iowa Army National Guard, helps move a traffic barrier in Des Moines, April 27, 2020. Lenhart is one of 60 military police Soldiers supporting the first drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Iowa.
 SPC Taylor Lenhart, a military police Soldier with the 186th Military Police Company, Iowa Army National Guard, helps move a traffic barrier in Des Moines, April 27, 2020. Lenhart is one of 60 military police Soldiers supporting the first drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Iowa. (Photo by SGT Tawny Schmit.)

DES MOINES, Iowa – On a sunny afternoon downtown, Army National Guard Specialist (SPC) Taylor Lenhart is doing exactly what she joined the Iowa National Guard to do – helping her local community in times of crisis as a Citizen-Soldier®. SPC Lenhart is one of 60 Soldiers with the 186th Military Police Company activated to assist at Iowa’s first drive-through COVID-19 testing site.

But, up until last week, SPC Lenhart was supporting her community in another way – instructing virtual karate classes.

SPC Lenhart grew up in Ankeny, where she began taking karate classes at the age of 9. Now 22, she has earned a second-degree black belt and has been instructing students at Dojo Family Martial Arts for four years. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPC Lenhart and her fellow instructors knew they would have to get creative if they hoped to continue teaching their students while following social distancing guidelines.

“We had to move to Zoom (videoconference) classes, which has so far turned out really well,” SPC Lenhart says. “I help teach martial arts, but what we also teach a lot of is character skills. We help discipline kids and keep order in the house.”

Despite the distance, SPC Lenhart says all four Dojo Family Martial Arts locations in the Des Moines metro area have become one big, happy community with an average of 30 students per class. The instructors and students from different locations usually only see each other at combined belt exams, but the virtual classes have made it possible to connect with everyone more often, she says.

Now that she’s been called to State active duty, SPC Lenhart says she’s grateful for the skills 12 years of karate classes have given her – skills that go beyond kicking and blocking.

“I probably wouldn’t have joined the military if it wasn’t for the confidence karate has given me,” SPC Lenhart says. “When it comes to moving up the ranks, karate and the military are similar. When you’re an instructor, you’re in charge. You have to have the confidence to teach others what you already know. The same goes for noncommissioned officers in the Army.”

SPC Lenhart is confident in her ability to help in the fight against COVID-19, but her new mission is important on a personal level as well. When businesses began shutting down in Iowa, SPC Lenhart decided to move back home, and she says it ended up being a good decision for her family.

“I live with a high-risk person right now,” SPC Lenhart says. “My mother has muscular dystrophy and has been in a wheelchair since she was 16. I’m trying to help them get through this.”

SPC Lenhart is dedicated to supporting her family and helping her students maintain their fitness and focus through home care and virtual classes, but now she’s supporting them in a different way.

At the drive-through testing site in Des Moines, SPC Lenhart and fellow Soldiers are directing traffic and ensuring that medical personnel can do their job efficiently, all while following no-contact protocols.

“It’s really nice for us to be here and help things run more smoothly, that way people can get in and out of here fast,” SPC Lenhart says.

Above all, SPC Lenhart says she wants people to stay safe. While it can be difficult to be away from her family and students during this stressful time, she says she’s proud to help.

“I have a duty to my State and country, to the people in this community,” SPC Lenhart says. “Helping out here is also helping my students get back in the classroom faster.”

The Army National Guard gives you the opportunity to pursue a civilian career while serving part-time in your home State, so your family is always close by. With positions in more than 130 career fields, you can find your perfect fit. Check out the job board for more information on available careers, and contact a local recruiter to learn more.  From an original article by Sergeant (SGT) Tawny Schmit, Iowa National Guard, which appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil on May 4, 2020.

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North Carolina National Guard Sibling Soldiers Reunite on Deployment

U.S. Army Specialist Jacqueline Herzog stands next to her brother, Private First Class, Jeremiah Herzog.
U.S. Army Specialist Jacqueline Herzog stands next to her brother, Private First Class, Jeremiah Herzog, in the Middle East while supporting Operation Spartan Shield, April 9, 2020.

UNDISCLOSED LOCATION – April 10th is Siblings Day, recognizing the special bond between brothers and sisters. The military, including the Army National Guard, is often recognized for similar bonds, because of the special trust that develops among service members in the ranks.

In the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, two Soldiers, who are also brother and sister, were recently brought back together in the Middle East supporting Operation Spartan Shield. In March, U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) Jeremiah Herzog and U.S. Army Specialist (SPC) Jacqueline Herzog were reunited after eight months of separation, just in time for Siblings Day.

“I was pretty happy to see my sister again,” says Jeremiah Herzog, an Armored Crewman in the 1-252nd Armored Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team. “I hadn’t seen her since the Fourth of July last year. It was really exciting to see her here in the desert.”

The Herzogs joined the North Carolina National Guard together in the spring of 2018. PFC Herzog, who is two years older, says he was inspired to join after his sister enlisted as a Combat Engineer during her junior year of high school.

“I was surprised when she joined. I didn’t think she was really going to do it, so I had to one-up her and join too,” he says.

SPC Herzog, a Combat Engineer in the 236th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, says basic training was a proud moment, and she is grateful for the support of her parents.

“My mom was hesitant about me joining, but my dad thought it was great. He said, ‘You’re going to get to blow stuff up,’” says SPC Herzog. “He thought it was cool.”

When she went on to complete Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, her brother left for Operation Spartan Shield in the summer of 2019.

“I was happy she made it through. I was both nervous and proud of her,” says PFC Herzog.

The Herzog siblings are nicknamed “other Herzog” by their peers. PFC Herzog says the nickname started their first drill weekend together when they got teased for having the same last name.

“It was a rough first drill weekend together and our first physical training experience,” says PFC Herzog. “It was confusing for people to call us the same name.”

SPC Herzog says going through these experiences together was comforting because they supported each other. She added that it felt like they had each other to count on and that made it better.

PFC Herzog says he’s made a lot of friends while deployed, and it has been a good opportunity for him to perform his job and earn money.

“I love working on the tank and have the most fun when I’m doing tank maintenance,” says PFC Herzog.

SPC Herzog says she enjoys demolition and was excited for upcoming water impulse charge demolition training.

“We blow a big hole in the door in order to breach it so we can move in or get past it,” says SPC Herzog.

The Herzog siblings say they go to dinner every night together and enjoy spending time to sit and talk. They say they are thankful for the continued support of their family and want them to know they love them very much.

When not on deployment, the Army National Guard gives you the opportunity to pursue a civilian career while serving part-time in your home State, so your family is always close by! With positions in more than 130 career fields including armor and field artillery, ground forces and engineering, you can find your perfect fit. Check out the job board for more information on available careers, and contact a local recruiter to learn more.  

From an original article by CPT Regina Corbin, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, which appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil in April 2020.

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Guard Soldier Jumps Straight from Basic Training to Elite Army Schools

SPC Connor McGuffee

SPC Connor McGuffee, a Louisiana National Guard Soldier with 2nd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, outside his Unit’s armory in New Iberia, La. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Garrett Dipuma.)

NEW IBERIA, Louisiana – Army National Guard Specialist (SPC) Connor McGuffee dove headfirst into his military career by completing both the U.S. Army’s Airborne and Ranger schools right after basic training, a feat that took him 13 months to accomplish.

SPC McGuffee, 21, joined the Louisiana Army National Guard so he could earn a degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette before entering the workforce as a full-time Soldier. The Guard offers education benefits to help pay for your tuition and expenses, and, because service is part-time, you can complete your education while you serve.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the Army, but I want to get my degree before I go active,” says SPC McGuffee, 2nd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “The National Guard just looked like a good option since I could go to a physical school full-time and have my tuition covered while still starting my military career.”

He says he was particularly excited at the chance to attend an elite military training course right out of the gate.

“I jumped at the chance to go to Ranger school when it was offered to me,” says SPC McGuffee. “My dad was a Ranger, and I grew up hearing stories from him about his time in the military.”

During basic training, SPC McGuffee and other top-performing Soldiers were offered the chance to attend the course on the condition they maintain the high standards they exhibited.

“My dad was shocked when I wrote home to tell him I was going to Ranger school,” says SPC McGuffee. “I feel really lucky that I was in the right place at the right time to get that opportunity.”

McGuffee says the course was as tough as one would expect, if not harder for somebody who was still new to the military.

“I had just learned the basic concepts the instructors were trying to teach, so being so new was definitely a challenge,” he says. “The hardest part, though, was just constantly failing at what seemed like everything.”

The new Ranger explains that the course is designed that way. Every situation is set up as nearly impossible to complete without error, and one person can fail because of a shortcoming exhibited by another team member. This builds stress, and eventually, Ranger candidates develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills in situations of high stress and fatigue.

“I got recycled once because I let one of my team members fall asleep,” says SPC McGuffee. “But that taught me one of the best lessons I took away from the course; teamwork and discipline are necessary to succeed, and I think that applies in military and civilian life.”

As far as preparing for Ranger school, SPC McGuffee has some straightforward advice for would-be candidates: Go in with a mantra of knowing you will earn the tab and never give up. He says that although the course was not as physically challenging as he thought it would be, it was extremely difficult, even though he was in peak condition from his high school football career and constant workouts leading up to Ranger school.

“During basic, pretty much all of my downtime was committed to extra exercise to prepare. I was working out twice a day running, lifting weights, and doing bodyweight exercises between basic and Ranger school,” says SPC McGuffee. “It’s a hard course that you definitely need to be mentally and physically ready for before you get there.”

Now that he is home, SPC McGuffee enjoys his free time spending time with his family playing Dungeons and Dragons or MechWarrior.

“Basic training and Ranger school were really challenging, but I loved every moment I was there,” says SPC McGuffee. “Those were some of the best times I’ve had in my life, and I can’t see myself wanting to work outside of the military now.”

With positions in more than 130 career fields ranging from Ground Forces, to Technology and Networking, to Intelligence, and Aviation, you can find your perfect fit with the Army National Guard. Check out the job board for more information on available careers, and contact a local recruiter to learn more. 

From an original article by Staff Sgt. Garrett Dipuma, Louisiana National Guard, which appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil in February 2020.

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