Brig. Gen. Ken Koon knows a thing or two about having National Guard units ready to deploy.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard’s assistant adjutant general for readiness and training recently accepted an additional assignment with the same mission but a larger scope ó First Army Division West’s deputy commanding general of operations.
“It’s actually very similar to what I do for the Wisconsin Army National Guard,” Koon explained.
Koon is the second Wisconsin Army National Guard general officer to serve in that capacity. Retired Brig. Gen. Dominic Cariello, the former land forces component commander for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, held the very same post in 2010. Koon may be the last to fill that dual-hat role as the Army transitions away from its wartime footing.
In his dual-hat role, Koon will be an advisor for reserve component units training at mobilization stations, and also a liaison between the reserve units and their active-duty trainers ó though the gap between components has closed considerably.
“When it gets down to muddy boots, you really can’t tell the difference between the active component and the reserve component,” Koon said. “We need each other to get the mission done.”
He noted that the active and reserve components have worked together for years, and that the emphasis is returning to pre-mobilization training as operations in Afghanistan are winding down.
Koon’s obligations with the Wisconsin Army National Guard and with First Army Division West occupy, on average, 13 days per month. He said he feels blessed to have another opportunity to work with and serve Soldiers by ensuring that deploying reserve component units arrive ready for mobilization training, and that the mobilization station trainers provide what the outgoing units need.
“It’s a great part-time job,” he said.