Home News Local News NM adjutant general focuses on aircraft, leadership during visit

NM adjutant general focuses on aircraft, leadership during visit

Maj. Gen. Kenneth A. Nava speaks about how he plans to improve the New Mexico National Guard Wednesday afternoon in the Alcove Room at Eastern New Mexico University—Roswell. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

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The New Mexico National Guard’s newest leader visited Roswell to express how he plans to further improve the military force and give thanks to a dear friend.

The coin
Kenneth A. Nava, the adjutant general of New Mexico from Rio Rancho, gifted veteran Don Bartlett with a special kind of coin.
“I’m giving him this coin for the excellent service that he’s rendered to the New Mexico National Guard and to the community of Roswell,” Nava explained. “It’s a token of appreciation.”
Bartlett served 36 years in the National Guard. Nava said he gave him the adjutant general’s coin because of the support he provides to others.
“I’ve seen him — personally observed him — giving this assistance to other soldiers,” Nava said. “To myself personally, and my family. So, it’s just a way to say, ‘Thank you.'”
The gifting was part of the adjutant general’s recognition program, just one of the points at the mayor’s luncheon program held at the Alcove Room at Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell Wednesday afternoon. While his actual coin is still in the works, Nava said when he does receive it, it’s going to Bartlett.
Previously a brigadier general, Nava was installed as adjutant general on July 8. On July 31, Nava was promoted by Gov. Susana Martinez to the rank of major general.
After receiving the promotion, Nava said he looked forward to applying the leverage with his rank to help the New Mexico National Guard reach its fullest potential.
“What it means is, as the adjutant general, I have the rank of major general, ” he said. “And so, to allow my organization to leverage my rank as major general to get them the resources, the training, personnel — things that we need to be successful in our missions, we basically have a two-fold mission. One is to support and defend the United States in time of need and also to care for our fellow New Mexicans in their time of need.”

The storm
Nava said a perfect example of this mission is the military response following Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
“Their National Guard is helping their fellow citizens,” he said. “The National Guard community, with the entire nation, is coming together to help Texas if they need our help. If they need our help — we’re here ready to go help them.”
Nava said about 80 New Mexico National Guardsmen were ordered to active duty as a means to prepare assisting those affected by the storm.
“This is going to be a very long, drawn-out recovery that Texas is going to have to go through, so everybody’s going to get their opportunity to go assist,” Nava said. “The National Guard is never out there trying to get publicity for what we do — we’re just simply helping our neighbors in Texas in their time of need, and we know that they would reciprocate the same for us.”

Obtaining flight
Nava later mentioned that his No. 1 priority concerned aircraft for New Mexico’s Air National Guard.
“The New Mexico National Guard is the only state in the nation without an operational flying machine,” Nava said. “(We’re) the only guys and gals not flying in support of the Air Force’s wartime kind of missions — the only ones.”
Nava added that New Mexico is one of three within the entire nation that don’t have their own aircraft equipment.
“That’s a problem for me as the adjutant general,” he said. “That’s something I’m going to be working on very, very diligently.
“The type of aircraft? I don’t really care that much. All I want is to help the Air Force — whatever the Air Force needs — I want to be doing that.”

Female leadership
Nava then spoke about combat arms-type jobs in the Guard, and the further inclusion of women.
“Until recently, the Department of Defense had prevented females from serving in those jobs — that recently has changed,” Nava said. “From the Secretary of Defense, we’ve changed the policy to allow females to serve in any job that they want to serve in. So, in New Mexico, all of our jobs have been open to females except for our infantry battalion.”
While it is open to females, Nava said before they can have female recruits, they require leaders.
“I’ll need officers and non-commissioned officers — the leadership, if you will — in those places first, and they got to be females before I can bring female recruits,” he said.

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An enduring endeavor
Nava, who has served in the National Guard for almost 30 years, said both the airmen and soldiers are in good morale, and are continuing to do wonderful things.
Whether traveling to visit the governor with a congressional delegation or routinely going the District of Columbia, Nava said he continues to be “very, very busy.”
“But that’s OK. That’s what I want to do,” Nava said. “I want to help serve the airmen and soldiers of the New Mexico National Guard, and I want to help New Mexico be the best National Guard that it can be in order to respond to the president’s needs and our governor’s needs here in New Mexico.”
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.