03/15/09 — Perdue promises aid to guardsmen, bases

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Perdue promises aid to guardsmen, bases

By Molly Flurry
Published in News on March 15, 2009 2:00 AM

Gov. Beverley Perdue promised "specific investments" Saturday to support active duty military and National Guard members and their families.

Families at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base are among those who can expect continued state funding for recreation and family services as a part of what Mrs. Perdue called the state's "family commitment" to military personnel.

In an e-Townhall Web cast, Mrs. Perdue said her budget continues the $1 million in funding for recreation and family services at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the Army's Fort Bragg and the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Camp LeJuene.

"In North Carolina, we know that military service is a family commitment," Perdue said. "When family members head off on an extended deployment, support from the homefront isn't just a comfort; it can really be a necessity."

New to the budget is a $2 million line item for National Guard Family Assistance Centers in Greenville and Lenoir.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, 12,000 state National Guard soldiers and airmen have been deployed overseas, making the support increase necessary, she said.

"Many of our Guard members been deployed more than once. They leave their jobs and their family and their friends behind," Perdue said. "They are indeed the citizen-soldiers that the heroes and the she-roes owe cherish and are very grateful for."

Perdue made an example of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion of the 130th Regiment, which has served in Afghanistan, and following training at Fort Hood in Texas will soon deploy to Iraq.

"For many of our National Guard families, the support services that we offer to regular military just aren't there," she said.

The 1-130th's deployment will bring the number of North Carolina Guard members on federal active duty to nearly 4,500 of about 11,800 Army and Air Force Guard members.