Shaping the Future Together: The Capitol Hill Summit Through Junior Officers' Eyes
  • Published: March 25, 2024
  • Last Updated: March 25, 2024

Shaping the Future Together: The Capitol Hill Summit Through Junior Officers' Eyes

The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations (PNGAS) recently participated in the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) Capitol Hill Summit and had the privilege of witnessing our junior officers engage in this transformative experience. This event, held on March 18th and 19th, 2024, provided an invaluable professional development opportunity for our officers and shed light on the profound impact PNGAS continues to have within our Guard community.

Empowerment Through Learning and Leadership

CPT Christi Cook and CW2 Paul Hock, among others, were immersed in an environment that not only enhanced their understanding of the legislative process but also equipped them with the knowledge and skills to advocate effectively for the Guard's priorities. CPT Cook was particularly moved by the experience, stating, "This event inspired and motivated me to continue participating with NGAUS; along with PNGAS. I was captivated by each speaker and the dedication each have input throughout their careers."

The event emphasized the importance of building solid relationships with Congress members to advocate for legislation beneficial to our soldiers and their families. Key topics included the Zero Cost Tricare for Reserve/Guard, Zero Cost Dental, and Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act. These discussions underscored the critical role of communication and research in gaining momentum for these initiatives.

Building a Cohesive Community

Our junior officers didn't just come back with enhanced professional knowledge; they returned with strengthened bonds and a renewed sense of purpose. Engaging in group activities, sharing insights, and forming connections with National Guardsmen from various regions laid the foundation for a cohesive community focused on a shared mission.

Looking Forward

The reflections from CPT Cook and CW2 Hock highlight the summit's role in fostering leadership, understanding, and advocacy within our Guard. Their experiences exemplify the broader impact of PNGAS on fostering a community of well-informed, connected, and empowered members.

As we continue to support and participate in events like the Capitol Hill Summit, we are reminded of the importance of our role in shaping policies and practices that directly affect our Guard members and their families. These experiences not only enhance the professional development of our officers but also strengthen the bonds within our Guard community, making us all stronger, more informed, and more united in our mission.

We extend our gratitude to CPT Cook and CW2 Hock for their heartfelt reflections and commend all our junior officers who participated in the summit. Their dedication and enthusiasm are a testament to the positive impact PNGAS and its members have on our community and beyond.