Pioneering Change: Utah National Guard's First-Ever Junior Enlisted Conference

  • Published
  • By A1C Kyle Blackham
  • 151st Wing

Both airmen and soldiers attended the first junior conference for the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of Utah on Sept. 28, at Roland R. Wright ANG base. The event was organized to spread awareness and interest in the organization among newly enlisted personnel.

EANGUT’s mission is to improve and sustain the welfare, benefits, and overall conditions of enlisted airmen and soldiers. Together with a collective voice, they are able to make their members' needs heard by both state and national legislators. 

Key speakers such as Maj. Gen. Daniel Boyack, the adjutant general, Utah National Guard, Richard Smith, ANG’s ninth command chief master sergeant, retired, and several other important members were able to describe their time in the military and how things have changed for the better, thanks to EANGUT. 

“The people in this room are the future leaders of the army and air national guard,” said Smith. “I will do anything I can to pass on my expertise from my experience and my knowledge that I gained over my career.” 

EANGUT functions similarly to a charitable organization in the sense that none of the members are to receive monetary compensation, no matter who. Everyone is there on their own free will, looking to protect and ensure the benefits of Utah’s national guard members. 

“When I got here, and probably when others got here [UTANG], we thought that most things were automatic; everyone got TRICARE,” said Tech. Sgt. Rachel Williams, 151st MOF. “I had no idea that we [EANGUT] had to fight for that, and I had no idea that we had to keep fighting, not just to have TRICARE, but to keep it.”

Williams goes on to explain that EANGUT and EANGUS are critical for assisting members in keeping their benefits because there could be an instance where all that hard work goes away. 

For the future, the organization hopes to keep making impactful strides, spread awareness, and obtain more members. The bigger the organization, the more influence they will have among legislators.