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Minnesota National Guard
New Senior Enlisted Leader Brings Passion for National Guard to Position

WASHINGTON " The first female and first Air Force senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau said her new job is a calling

"It's not about a job," Chief Master Sgt Denise Jelinski-Hall said during a break after Air Force Gen Craig McKinley announced her selection to about 2,400 people at the National Guard's 2009 Joint Senior Leadership Conference here, Nov 19 "This is truly a calling and a passion " I have a passion for the National Guard"

Like many Guardmembers, Jelinski-Hall has had a varied career spanning multiple states Originally from Little Falls, Minn, she did stints in Nebraska and California before serving in the Hawaii Air National Guard for 19 years

She was an air traffic controller, a combat air space manager, a wing command chief, a state command chief and her state's senior enlisted leader She's been both a traditional Guardmember and a technician

In her new role, Jelinski-Hall is responsible for advising McKinley on the enlisted affairs of 457,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the Army and Air National Guard

"It's about service, about commitment and making a difference for America " adding value," she said Adding value to America was the theme of last week's JSLC, an event attended by the most senior Defense Department and other federal government leaders

"I see my role as advising Gen McKinley on all matters affecting the enlisted corps, Army and Air, and their families," she said "I see myself working on big, broad programs " Yellow Ribbon, family programs, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, anything that touches our enlisted men and women

"Resiliency training " Army and Air " is critically important"

Both the Army and the Air National Guard also have senior enlisted leaders "I see us as a triangle," she said "I don't serve over them They don't work for me We have different lines of leadership We will be working together very closely The three of us will work very, very well together"

The National Guard is busy in every state and territory and dozens of countries "Especially where there are Soldiers and Airmen in the fight, that is critically important, and I know how much they appreciate going out, whether it's Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Africa " wherever they are " they appreciate leadership coming, just to say, 'Thank you for answering the call to serve our country'"

Jelinski-Hall said it's also important to visit the National Guard armories, wings and installations located in virtually every community in America "Those that are called to service, we need to go and get in front of them and say 'Thank you' to them and to the families and to the employers and to the communities"

One of her goals is to grow the field of senior enlisted leaders who can be tapped for the most senior positions This echoes a charge made to McKinley when he was appointed to chief " grow the field of senior officers who can be considered for the most senior positions throughout DoD

"It's my responsibility to give Gen McKinley that opportunity to have a wide pool to choose from," she said

Right now, she and her husband, who served on active duty, are focused on their first PCS move in two decades

"Growing up in Minnesota, I get the cold and whatnot, but it is certainly going to be a big culture shock and a transition," she said "I look forward to being able to do some different things other than going to the beach, which I truly love, but really taking in the culture here on the East Coast, the battlefields and the museums It's exciting for us"

Jelinski-Hall hopes to squeeze some time hiking and visiting the ocean, but she said that requires some serious time management She juggles work, marriage, her own child, stepchildren and continuing education "There's not a lot of extra time," she said

Not that she's complaining: "It is such an honor and privilege to be able to wear this uniform that represents the best military It's a calling and a passion, and I believe that this is where I'm meant to be " wearing a uniform that represents the United States of America"

Staff Sgt Jim Greenhill "¢ National Guard Bureau
24 Nov, 2009
Article source: DVIDS • Digital Video & Imagery Distribution System

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