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Up To Date

A Life In The National Guard

The National Guard

We’ve all seen the war films of heroic soldiers fighting battles, but what does that battle look like for those left at home?

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll talk with families of soldiers in the Kansas and the Missouri National Guard, who have seen their loved ones deployed about how they deal with that.

We'll also talk with some of the soldiers themselves about balancing their jobs as soldiers with far away family responsibilities.

Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli is the adjutant general of Kansas. He was sworn in as adjutant general on Jan. 28, 2011, and promoted to major general in the Kansas National Guard. As the adjutant general, Tafanelli oversees the activities of the Adjutant General’s Department. This includes providing command and control for more than 7,700 soldiers and airmen in the Kansas Army and Air National Guard. Previously, Tafanelli was the assistant adjutant general - Army, Kansas Army National Guard, and commander of the Land Component for the Joint Force Headquarters-Kansas. He joined the Kansas Army National Guard in 1980 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers through Pittsburg State University’s ROTC program in 1982. Tafanelli has served in a wide variety of command and staff positions as a traditional Guardsman, Active Guard and Reserve and Active Duty soldier at the company, battalion, brigade, state headquarters and Department of the Army level. His battalion and brigade level assignments include reconnaissance officer; equipment platoon leader; supply officer; company commander; and training officer in the 891st Engineer Battalion. He also served as the personnel officer and training officer of the 69th Infantry Brigade, 35th Infantry Division. In 2005, as commander of the 891st Engineer Battalion, he led the battalion during a deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He later served as commander of 69th Troop Command and as director of operations for the Kansas National Guard. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner is the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard. He serves as the Chief Administrative Officer to the Governor (Commander in Chief) for command and control of the 11,800 Missouri Army and Air National Guard personnel. He ensures the Missouri National Guard is trained, equipped and resourced for its dual state and federal missions. He was commissioned a First Lieutenant in 1981 into the Judge Advocate General Corps. His initial military service began in 1972 when he enlisted in the Regular Army and served as a combat engineer on active duty until 1974. General Danner served in Iraq as Command Judge Advocate, 35th Area Support Group, Logistics Support Area, Anaconda, Balad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07. Additionally, he served as a contract attorney and on special garrison assignments for 3rd Corps Command. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Action Badge.  

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.