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From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short

From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - September 15, 2023

In January of 2020, I had the honor of being named an Honorary Commander in the Delaware National Guard. As you would expect, this program got side tracked just a little more than a month later as Covid hit. As the participation for my role in this new program got put on hold, the role of Delaware National Guard expanded with the governor calling the Guard into action to assist with the healthcare needs of our state.

Last month, the Delaware National Guard Honorary Commander program was restarted and I was pleased to be back on the base and to have the opportunity to reconnect with some old friends both in the Guard and in the program. The reconnection included taking a tour with a Delawarean I’ve worked with and admired for over 30 years, General Frank Vavala. While I worked for then-Congressman Tom Carper in the early 90s, I worked closely with General Vavala in ensuring the families of our Guard members deployed during the first Gulf War had their needs met while their loved ones were on deployment. Although it has become much more standard operating procedure, the first Gulf War deployments came as a shock to many Guard families who had principally been serving our state and assisting other states during natural disasters or other domestic situations.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with my assignment as Honorary Commander to the Delaware National Guard 160th Engineer Company. The men and women of the 160th Engineer Company are trained to provide vertical and horizontal engineer operations. I can’t think of a better assignment for the Delaware Contractors Association. In January of this past year, the 160th was deployed to Southwest Asia and surrounding areas. In preparation for this deployment, the 160th Engineer Company added over 30 additional training days including skill development in masonry, demolition, plumbing and heavy machinery operation. As part of their deployment, they took along 50 pieces of heavy operations equipment ranging from bulldozers to graders to vibratory rollers.

It is anticipated that the men and women of the 160th will be returning home around the end of the year. They took great construction skills with them, helped others benefit from their knowledge and work, and will be returning home with even more to offer to their employers and communities. There are three things that come to my mind when I think about their return. First, I want to be at the homecoming ceremony and would welcome any DCA members who would like to join me. Second, I am hoping that I will be able to get to know the men and women of the 160th better and build a real connection between them and DCA. And third, for those members of the 160th who have an interest, I would love to help them get connected with our members who know the extra value these men and women bring to a company.

PS: I did get an awesome ride in a Blackhawk helicopter during my August visit!

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