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Chief Brush visits Vigilantes

Great Falls, Mont. -- Command Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell O. Brush, senior enlisted advisor for the National Guard Bureau, spoke to members of the Montana Air National Guard June 4 in the Larsen Room here.

A Billings, Montana, native and past member of the MANG, Brush advises the Chief NGB, Gen. Frank J. Grass.

Brush gave Airmen an overall view of the Guard, encouraged members to proudly share the Guard's mission and touched on areas for improvement.

Grass and Brush are the voice of the Guard to remind Washington, D.C., of the abilities of the Guard.

"The Guard is not a substitute or a replacement for active duty, we're interchangeable," Brush said.

A smaller force than active duty, with an even smaller budget, the guard is making significant contributions.

"The GuardĀ is in every state and in 22 countries. Over 780,000 (Guardsmen) have deployed since 9/11 with 10,673 currently deployed and fostering 70 state partnerships since 1993 with a $14 million budget," Brush said.

While taking care of business there are always placesĀ for improvement. Suicide and sexual assault were the topics discussed.

"Police yourself. This is your company," Brush said.

After Brush briefed, he asked for questions, comments or suggestions. Staff Sgt. Rorycal Roberson, an aerospace propulsion journeyman stood up to suggest a way to know Airmen better and document when they're struggling to help prevent suicides.

Roberson was coined by Brush for his recent non-commissioned officer induction and sharing his idea. Brush urged the new staff sergeant to implement the idea now, at his level, because that's where changes happen.

When giving advice with how to become Chief Brush he used to joke about how he got there, "be on-time, wear clean underwear and you have to be lucky."

Given some feedback early in his command chief senior enlisted advisor position, Brush realized Guardsmen wanted an actual answer, and shared his tips.

"First, be approachable," Brush said. "If Airmen and Soldiers are not going to come up to you, you've lost it. The second piece is whatever rank you're at, you have to be the best dang staff sergeant you can be to get to my rank. I didn't one day wake up and say I'm going to be Chief Brush. I woke up saying, 'I'm a staff sergeant and I'm going to be the best staff sergeant I can.' When it comes time for promotion, or it comes time for job selection, this is the only person right here (circles name on paper with hand)."

The members left inspired by Brush's words and with a bigger picture of the Guard's impact globally. Vigilantes were tasked to share the information in their shops and communities.
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