The Magazine of the NJ National Guard
volume 32 number 1

Guardlife Index

The NJARNG Diversity Program
By Capt. Barbara Brown-Wilson, NJARNG/DP
In 2003, Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth envisioned a program that would work toward having a diverse force, both vertically and horizontally and reflective of the demographics of New Jersey.

By valuing ethnic and cultural differences as well as similarities, the NJARNG can better recruit, retain, mentor and promote members. However, the challenge before the NJARNG is capitalizing on the state's changing demographics. As a result of the TAG's vision, a State Diversity Program was created that focuses on all aspects of the Guard and fosters diversity, recruiting, retention, mentorship, promotion, resources, training and policies. The Diversity Program also calls for a Diversity Committee comprised of primarily enlisted representatives from each NJARNG unit. The committee, which meets quarterly and is responsible for implementing the program, serves as the eyes, ears and voices of Soldiers.

Future diversity initiatives include administering a Diversity Climate Survey and establishing a Diversity Webpage. The goal of the survey is to assess the current diversity climate. It will be imperative that all soldiers participate in the survey to gain an accurate assessment in order to effectively implement the Diversity Program.

The Diversity site is on New Jersey National Guard Knowledge Online under G1 Military Personnel. It will provide the latest information on the NJARNG Diversity Initiatives. Soldiers can access current diversity statistics, available diversity training, links, ARNG e-Mentoring information and other diversity resources. The Diversity site is located at Users must have a valid GKO username and password to access the site.

A full-time State Diversity Officer has been appointed to oversee the State Diversity Program. If you would like additional information regarding the program and its initiatives, please contact Capt. Barbara Brown-Wilson at (609) 562-0799 or send an e-mail to
Guard Plays Key Role in Inauguration
The New Jersey National Guard played an important role in the 2006 Governor's Inauguration by providing support at all the events. Support included a 19-gun salute, VIP escorts at the prayer service, inauguration ceremony and the Inaugural Ball; and aerial photography for security. The Guard was also responsible for delivering the official State Seal to the Secretary of State. The following indivuduals served as escorts at the Inauguration, pictured (l-r) Lt. Col. Angelo Capolupo, Master Sgt. Daniel Calderale, Col. Edward Slavin, Master Sgt. James McCloskey, Master Sgt. Michael Edmiston, Maj. Daniel Rutkowski, Lt. Col. Mark Preston and Lt. Col. Dennis Devery. Photo by Lt. Col. Roberta Niedt, NJDMAVA/PAO.

NJARNG Honors 2005 NCO Of The Year
Many of us meet the mark, but few go beyond. There’s something to be said for the men and women who see past the standard and raise the benchmark.

That’s what Staff Sgt. Harold Prickett did when he won the 2005 NJARNG Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. While this Soldier has won bragging rights for his unit, the 253rd Transportation Company, he takes it all in stride. “It's nice to be recognized for doing good work and being the best you can be," said Prickett playing off the Army motto. “For me it was a pat on the back for doing an excellent job. But it was all just part of the job.”

While Prickett is modest about the award, other uniformed Guard members are not surprised by the honor. “Sgt. Prickett is top notch, he is one of the best,” said Sgt. Samuel Caraballo. “I have known him for close to ten years…He always strives for the best whatever he does in and out of uniform.”

Prickett attributes his NCO of the Year nomination to the 253rd‘s deployment to Iraq from Feb. 2003 to April 2004, where his unit helped support the 548th Support Group, 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne during the initial days of the Global War on Terrorism.

While there, Prickett stepped to the plate when asked, and took on the challenges as a manager dealing with the movement of the unit’s vehicles.

"He will always be an asset to whatever organization he is working for - in or out of the military - now or in the future," observed Carabello.

Prickett was offered a fulltime job with his unit shortly after his 16-month deployment. After being nominated for the NCO of the Year, he found himself studying common task training manuals along with reading newspapers for current events in preperation for the competition. His senior NCOs gave him advice and support, something that Prickett would do for any Soldier going up for this award. ”If a Soldier gets nominated for this, tell them to call me anytime and I will be happy to help them out to prepare.”

“It was a neat experience,” he said. “It was really cool to get the recognition in the state. I Love everyday of the Army. I love being in uniform.
Soldier of the Year
With only two years in the military, Spc. Eric Robert Symonds is already setting an example for his fellow Soldiers of New Jersey.

This is because this 21 year-old recruiter of the Recruiting and Retention Command at Port Murray was recently selected as the Soldier of the Year for the New Jersey Army National Guard for 2005.

“I was totally surprised when I was nominated, I had no idea,” said Symonds.

Prior to Soldier of the Year, Symonds' accomplishments began when he was in Advanced Individual Training, as an armor crewman.

At that time he earned the Excellence in Armor award for graduating in the top five percent of his class of 180 Soldiers and was promoted to private first class.

When the Port Murray recruiter went on leave, Symonds was able to enlist two local high school students into the Army National Guard without formal recruiter training. He received an Army Achievement Medal for his efforts.

“What I like about this job, is the opportunity to help other people make positive changes in their life (by joining the Guard). I know the changes it made in my life, I know it will change theirs,” said Symonds.

When he is not recruiting, Symonds likes to add to his military experience by studying or attending military schools. Three schools he recently graduated from are: Air Assault school, which he finished in November of 2004; the Recruiting school in March 2005; and, most recently, the Primary Leadership Development Course in August, where he graduated second out of a class of 117 Soldiers.

“Before joining, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and now that I am part of it, I realized that nothing is by chance, there is no luck, just hard work. This is what I am supposed to be doing. This is my chosen path," stated Symonds. "Now that I found it I don’t want to stop, I'm always looking up, never looking back.”From the day he began working at the recruiting office at Port Murray he continued to excel.
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs