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Close the Loop Newsletter for the Mississippi State Guard Office of Public Affairs, MSSG


ŠThis newsletter is published by.the WWW M SOffice S T Aof T EPublic G U AAffairs R D . of O the R G Mississippi State Guard.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13


William B Lee, BG (MS)

To all the fine people of the Mississippi State Guard: My tour as your commander is rapidly coming to close. I will have much to say to you when I take my leave, but in these few words, let me express to each of you my deepest gratitude for the great support that you have provided me during my time in command of the Mississippi State Guard. I have never had the privilege of working with a more dedicated group of people. I will look forward to following the progress of the MSSG, throughout the coming years. Good luck and Godspeed, BG Bill Lee

©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

Deputy Commander

Jimmy Shows, COL (MS)

The Mississippi State Guard (MSSG), as with any military unit, experiences change and accepts this as a way of life. Our state guard is no exception and now we are experiencing a new era, one full of change, from the corps of command we have starting with the Adjutant General, down to all levels within the National Guard to our own corps of officers, NCO’s and enlisted personnel. We are being evaluated with one issue in mind, how can we improve the state guard, and make a great organization even better. With this climate of change it is with great sadness we say good-by to our present Commander, BG William B. Lee. General Lee has been a blessing to the state guard and he will be missed. Now, with a great deal of optimism, we say hello to a new Commander, Colonel David L. McElreath [promotable to BG] Col McElreath is employed as a professor at Ole Miss where he teaches a curriculum of law Enforcement courses. He is a retired Marine Corp Colonel and will bring a lot of command experience to the table. I know Col McElreath personally and to every member of the MSSG: I ask you all to support him fully. I assure you his interest is doing what is best for the MSSG. Saying that, I have been asked to continue serving as the Deputy Commander. I will continue to do my part by setting the example of what is expected of an officer tasked with either staff or command duties. Both the incoming commander and I agree that our goal is to see that the MSSG is utilizing our personnel to the fullest, and insuring we are giving quality service to our own force, the National Guard, and to our Commander-in-Chief, the Governor of Mississippi. All Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) are posted on the MSSG web site and I encourage every member to take the time necessary to read, and understand what these regulations are saying as we are all responsible to know and to use these as the way we do business within the command. This is a responsibility that everyone will be held accountable to. A Climate Survey will be given to every member attending Annual Training (AT). Please complete this survey and be honest with your answers. The purpose is for the commander to see exactly what is the over-all condition of the members of the MSSG. Our attitudes make us or break us and there may be an addressable reason where we can improve our moral & welfare. Again, a part of the commanders desire, is to improve the MSSG. ©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

I hope to see you all at our coming Annual Training, to be held at camp McCain this April 11-14, 2013. Look sharp, and do your best to be the professional military we are claiming to achieve. PS The real question will be: can the Third (3rd) BDE hold onto the best Brigade at Annual Training they won last year, or will it go to another? It's up to you!

Chief of Staff

Fred Davis, COL (MS)

I’m happy to announce that on Saturday night, 13 April 2013, we will be having a special dinner, celebrating the career and retirement of our commanding general, BG William B. Lee. All attending AT are invited to join in this celebration. All MSSG personnel will wear BDUs while civilian guest will wear casual attire. Below is a copy of the invitation that is being sent to several special dignitaries that are being invited to celebrate with us.

Mississippi State Guard You are cordially invited to attend the celebration dinner of the career and retirement of Brigadier General William B. Lee. This special event and dinner will be held at Camp McCain on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 6:00pm R.S.V.P. 601-918-4059

Attire: MSSG- BDU; Civilian- Casual Attire

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Jimmie Lindsey, COL (MS)

From the desk of the G-1 AT is just around the corner and for the first time we are going to have a banquet. The dress for everyone will be BDU's. Our TAG, MG Augustus L. Collins, and ATAG, BG Jessie R. Robinson, plan to attend our AT and banquet. Be sure you get a fresh haircut. (We will have an inspection of ranks 0900 Thursday.) I have notice that some of you have BDU uniforms that do not have the correct patches, badges, etc, or, they are incorrectly affixed. Also, I have notice members wearing dress uniforms with their ribbons in the wrong order. We all need to check our uniforms, both BDU's and Dress to make sure they are correct. The Federal Ribbons are first and the State Guard Ribbons go on next. We have a link you can go to check the order that your ribbons need to be in: You can list the Federal Ribbons you have been awarded and the web site will show you what order to put them in. As for your State Guard Ribbons, you can look on our web site at the MSSG 10-4. See you at AT Colonel Jimmie L. Lindsey ACoS G-1

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Nathan Barber, LTC (MS)

Crossways With the recent reassignment of the 2nd BDE Chaplain to the command structure, Chaplain (CPT) Jerry Mixon has been elevated to the position of Acting BDE Chaplain of the 2nd BDE. According to his Commander, Chaplain Mixon has been quietly and effectively serving in that capacity anyway. This assignment by the Command Chaplain simply makes it official. AT is just a matter of days away. The Chaplains are looking forward to spending this time with the Troops at Camp McCain for our time of annual training. All of our Brigades will be together in one place at one time...even some competition going on between the Brigades for Top Brigade. Personal appearance will be emphasized this year. If Troops don't take pride in their own appearance, it is difficult to get them to take pride in the work we need to accomplish. We should arrive prepared with clean, fresh uniforms and hair cut according to MSSG standards. This means hair is to be cut close with no hair touching ears or collars. Remember, Chaplains are always addressed as "Chaplain" and not according to rank. Chaplains are not military personnel of a particular rank who have been "appointed" as Chaplains; we are Military Chaplains who receive rank according to MSSG procedures. To serve as a "Chaplain" is indeed our honor. Chaplain (LTC) Nathan L. Barber Command Chaplain, MSSG

Feature Solider Chaplain William B. Patrick 1st BDE

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Chaplain Patrick, of the 1st brigade, has proven to be a valuable resource for the 1st BDE and the MSSG, as a whole. Like most of us, Chaplain Patrick is fully committed to the MSSG. He always represents us well, as he goes about his numerous community service events. Although he is not at these events, in uniform, officially representing the MSSG, he is always telling the community about the state guard and what all we do for the State of Mississippi. Below is a small sample of the kind of events that Chaplain Patrick has recently participated in: 1) He regaled patrons at the Morton Public Library on 28 March 2013 with “The True Story of Casey Jones,” a storytelling event that allowed the listeners relive the history of that fateful morning of April 30, 1900 when the Illinois Central Railroad’s crack passenger train, The Cannonball Express, driven by engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones and fired by McComb native Simeon Taylor Webb ran into the rear of local freight train #83 hanging out on the mainline above the switch at Vaughn, Mississippi. Because Jones stayed with his train in a continuing effort to slow it, undoubtedly, lives were saved and injuries precluded. Casey’s was the only life lost in the wreck. Chaplain Patrick hopes that his storytelling, costumed dramatizations and multimedia presentations (i.e., Mississippi Roots Music; From the Arizona to the Atomic Bomb: Island Hopping to Victory across the Pacific; “C’mon, Pete, Walk on Water (a biblical story); Mississippi’s Military Legacy; The Generals; etc, will help to keep our military heritage and Mississippi history from disappearing in today’s busy world. 2) On March 22 and 23, he completed L.E.S.T. (Law Enforcement Support Team) training for cops and chaplains. The two-day course is designed to assist in response to major high-stress events that are happening across our nation on an almost daily basis. The training included one-on-one sessions with officers and dispatchers, support for law enforcement families to cope with adjustments after major events and networking with other resources. 3) On March 21, he completed a seminar, “Pain and Loss/Aging Issues a part of the Life Coaching for Pastors series offered by the Crossroads Counseling Center of Brandon. The one-day session emphasized counseling persons who suffered losses of family or friends through death, divorce, illness, or separation brought about by job or military concerns. 4) Chaplain Patrick, also, recently attended the Mississippi Baptist Chaplains’ Association Spring Retreat where he attended sessions on “Operational Stress First Aid,” and “Suicide Prevention/Intervention” over the two-day period. The annual sessions are held at Camp Garaywa in Clinton, Mississippi. In a further example of how committed Chaplain Patrick is the community and the MSSG, he is currently filling the much needed position of S-1 in the 1st BDE, as well as carrying out his ©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

Chaplain duties. He has also been able to secure lunch donations, from local restaurants for many training days for the 120th battalion. Chaplain Patrick is an inspiration and model for us all. His service is greatly appreciated and valued by not only the 1st BDE, but indeed, by the entire MSSG.


Jeff Kennedy 1LT, (MS)

The office of Public Affairs is excited to announce the creation and launch of the Mississippi State Guard Forum. A place where we can all meet to chat, exchange ideas, and stay up-to-date on all the news and issues involving the MSSG. To participate in the forum all you need is an email address and then simply register at the site. Most of us already have an email address; however, if you do not, simply go to our website (click here) and download the State Guard Email Activation/De-activation form. Complete that form and email it to Once you get confirmation that your email is active, you can register on the site. If you are not sure if you already have an email, simply email and we can look it up and let you know. Please be sure to read and understand the email use policy before using your email account. You also need to be sure to read and understand the MSSG Social Media Guidelines prior to using the forum. This document can be found on our website (click here). We also have an official Facebook page where we can post information and stay up-to-date. Our official Facebook page can be found here. The web forum is an exciting new way for us keep in touch with each other, and exchange information; but, ALWAYS remember operational security, and never disclose anything that is inappropriate to discuss in a public forum. Although participation in the forum is primarily for the members of the MSSG, it is viewable by the public. This allows potential new recruits to learn who we are and what we are all about. Click here to go to the forum and check it out.

ŠThis newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

Veterans News VA Will Use 'Preliminary Findings' To Reduce Verification Denials Article from Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs March 5, 2013

WASHINGTON - To speed eligibility determinations of Veteran-owned small businesses for Department of Veterans Affairs' “Veterans First” contracts, VA will allow applicants the opportunity to correct minor deficiencies before an initial denial is issued. Starting May 1, VA will begin providing preliminary findings to applicants before completing a comprehensive review of their submissions. This is expected to greatly reduce the number of VA’s initial denials and subsequent requests for reconsideration from companies. “A large percentage of verification denials are due to single points of failure that can be easily and quickly corrected. This improved process will enable us to bring more deserving Veteran business owners into VA’s system,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Our Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) will refine and measure the new process through pilot testing that has begun.” Firms that would be denied based on easily corrected issues will receive a preliminary finding before a determination letter of eligibility is issued. They will have 48 hours to respond with their intent to correct and resubmit the documents within a specified timeframe. All Veteranowned companies receiving preliminary findings will be encouraged to work with verificationassistance counselors to address identified issues that might result in denial. CVE has initiated a series of limited pilots to exercise and refine this new process for applying for verification as a Veteran-owned small business. The program is aimed at eliminating a large percentage of verification denials that are due to single points of failure. As VA has improved the program and processes, the average time to initial determination has been reduced from more than 130 days during the summer of 2011 to an average of 46 days for those applications completed last month. This is the most recent initiative aimed at improving the verification process. In June 2012, Secretary Shinseki announced that VA would double the amount of time - from one year to two years - before the owners of service-disabled, Veteran-owned small businesses and Veteranowned small businesses had to re-verify their status with VA. The next generation Verification Case Management System (VCMS) is currently under development, with an estimated contract award for a new system in May 2013. This will be a phased program with initial operational capability expected in October 2013. In addition to the current Verification Assistance program elements, a fourth dimension to the program will launch with the pilot of VA’s first Pre-Application workshop for Veterans on ©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

March 13, 2013, at an event hosted by the SDVOSB Council in Virginia. This workshop will outline what a Veteran needs to know and do to put together a successful verification application. VA encourages feedback on the process and will post additional information and the listing of easily correctable issues on CVE has also established a help desk service to address questions at 202-303-3260.

Veterans News VA/DoD Continue to Improve Online Access to Benefits Information Article from Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs January 28, 2013

New Functionality Added to Online Benefits Portal WASHINGTON - The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense (DoD) just released improvements to the functionality of eBenefits, a joint self-service web portal that provides registered users with secure online information and access to a variety of military and Veterans benefits resources. “eBenefits is clearly becoming the platform of choice for Veterans seeking access to the numerous benefits they have earned,” said Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “The increasing capabilities of eBenefits give Veterans and Servicemembers greater flexibility in securing the information they are looking for.” The latest release, eBenefits 4.3, allows for easy navigation of the online disability compensation claim submission process using interview-style questions and drop-down menus similar to taxpreparation software, instead of a traditional fill-in-the-blank form. The latest release also prepopulates the application with information from a Veteran’s record in VA’s secure database. Veterans can view processing times for each phase of their claim. Other site improvements include a tool to help determine if a Veteran has eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits, a calculator for military reservists to determine retirement benefits, and a search function that identifies a claimant’s appointed Veterans service representative, with links to Google Maps indicating the location of their nearest representative’s office. Servicemembers and Veterans can also access records like Post9/11 GI Bill enrollment status, VA payment history, and DoD TRICARE health insurance status. The eBenefits application is a key component of VA’s ongoing transformation to a digital environment for Veterans’ benefits delivery and fully supports VA’s Veterans Relationship ©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

Management initiative that provides Veterans with the ability to access information about their benefits anywhere, anytime and empowers them to manage those benefits through self-service capabilities. Additional functionality and features will continue to be added to the site throughout the coming months. To access eBenefits, Veterans and Servicemembers must obtain a DoD Self-Service Logon (DS Logon), which provides access to several Veterans and military benefits resources using a single username and password. The service is free and may be obtained in person at a VA Regional Office, TRICARE Service Center or online at There are currently 2.2 million users with access to eBenefits, and VA is on track to meet the 2013 agency priority goal of 2.5 million users, as outlined for VA on With the most-recent release, eBenefits has successfully completed 13 consecutive quarterly releases since October 2009 with 47 self-service features enabling Servicemembers and Veterans the ability to download copies of their official VA and military correspondence—to include Veterans civil service preference, service verification, and benefits verification letters; military records; and VA home loan certificates of eligibility, just to name a few. For more information about VA benefits go to and eBenefits at

Update from the 3rd Brigade:

3rd BDE Training 3rd BDE is privileged to drill at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg MS. In 2004, Camp Shelby became a mobilization station which continues to meet the challenges of planning, developing, and providing a diverse, demanding training environment that continues to be changed to counteract emerging security threats. 3rd BDE members visited the recently unveiled $3 million Virtual Clearance Training Suite which is a virtual reality training facility to train soldiers in scenarios they may face during combat. The CounterImprovised Explosive Device (C-IED) system is the Army’s latest high tech solution for virtual route clearance, counter-IED and mounted maneuver operations training, and consists of four 53-foot semitrailers that provide a mobile platform for classroom instruction and virtual simulator training. 3rd BDE members “walked” through the first three trailers where familiarization with enemy activity and IED emplacement was presented before members moved to the fourth trailer where members were able to act as enemy combatants. 3rd BDE members assumed various positions and operated a console resembling the Husky armored vehicle and mine detection simulator to navigate various scenarios in a digital environment complete with enemy activity, sound effects and visual stimuli designed to replicate a ©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

combat environment overseas. Having experience in playing video games and operating a joy stick were helpful. The movements of the console mimicked real movements and were capable of causing motion sickness! According to information reported in the winter issue of the Guard Detail, this training has enabled deploying Reserve Component Soldiers to achieve a high state of mission readiness and has already saved lives. In addition to Camp Shelby, the VCTS will be fielded in 28 other installations. Camp Shelby is the only MS location for this type of training. 3rd BDE appreciates the opportunity to learn firsthand about how the military is meeting the challenges of today’s warfare. It may seem improbable that we have this type of terrorism on American soil, but it is good to have this knowledge. Carolyn Parker, 1LT (MS), MSSG Public Affairs Officer, 3rd BDE

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Special recognition and announcements:

Promotions: Headquarter –Major Heather Lindsey; Captain Jesse Brown; Captain Charles Evans

1st Brigade – Major Pete Manley; SSgt Jo Hamby

©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

3rd Brigade: LTC John Combs

Awards: Headquarters: MS Magnolia Medal: LTC Richard Pearson, LTC Mike Barns MS Commendation Medal: CSM Michael Peusch MS Emergency Service Medal: Cpt Charles Evans, OCS Billy Rials, PFC Damonte Glover

Merit Ribbon: COL Shows, COL Lindsey, COL Hayhurst, LTC Barnes, LTC Thompson, MAJ Hayhurst, MAJ Schambura, MAJ Lindsey, CPT Evans, 1LT Jeff Kennedy, and PFC Denise Glover

31B Certification: OCS Billy Rials, PFC Kanna Robinson, PFC Denise Glover

1St Brigade: - Mississippi Emergency Service Medal: SFC Loretta York, SSgt Annie Frazier, Sgt Dick May, Sgt David Porter, Sgt Ricky White, Sgt Jacklin Velasco

31B Certification: Cpt Bill Patrick, 1LT Mary Lou Ayers, SSgt Annie Frazier, SSgt Ben Burnette, Sgt Jacklin Velasco, Sgt Ricky White, Sgt David Porter, SFC Loretta York,

ŠThis newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

ŠThis newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.


Commander: William B Lee, BG (MS)

Deputy Commander: Jimmy Shows, COL (MS)

Command Sergeant Major: CSM Johnny Marlow

Chief of Staff: Fred Davis, COL, (MS)

G-1: Jimmie Lindsey, COL,(MS)

G-3: Doug Hayhurst, COL (MS) Pat McGowan, LTC (MS)

Command Chaplain: Nathan Barber, LTC (MS)

Recruiting: Michael Barnes, LTC (MS) Charles Daley, LTC (MS)

Cell: 601-506-0043 Cell: 601-331-5664

Cell: 601-918-4059

PAO: Jeff Kennedy, 1LT, (MS)

Please submit news stories, pictures, information, suggestions, or ideas to the PAO office prior to the 15 th day of the month. Please remember that Public Affairs personnel will not always be there to take pictures or document the good things that occur in the State Guard. If you are involved with something that is ‘news worthy’ please take pictures and send those pictures, along with the information about the picture, to the PAO office ( so the images and stories can be shared.

©This newsletter is published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Mississippi State Guard.

Close the Loop - Jan - March  
Close the Loop - Jan - March  

Mississippi State Guard newsletter for the 1st quarter of 2013