Another post on another thread really struck a nerve with me, primarily because the poster was probably uneducated about the Guard, what they're for, and how they do business.
As a former crewmember with the Army Guard, and current Air Guardsman, I'd like to do a little educating here. This is NOT a political post, just an information dissemination.
Did you know?
The 210th, 211th, and 212th Rescue squadrons are NOT here to do search and rescue in Alaska. The reason they exist is to keep themselves trained, and ready to deploy to a combat theater of operations, and rescue downed airmen in combat. A secondary mission, since they're here anyway, is to provide recover assets for the fighters at Elmendorf, and Eielson. As a tertiary mission, since they're here anyway, is to assist local authorities in civilian search and rescue on an "as available" basis.
The 1/207th AVN (Army Guard) is NOT here to perform medevac/ SAR operations in the YK delta, Nome, Juneau area. They exist to support the infantry battalions that are scattered around the state. Since they are here anyway, the sometimes get called on an "as available" basis to assist in medevac and SAR.
The Department of Public Safety reimburses the guard for the flight hours flown on SAR missions. In some cases, the DPS recoups the money from native corporations, or private insurance. This depends on the nature of the rescue.
The National Guard is the MOST cost effective military asset the US has. This is for a variety of reasons (too many to list here, but here's a start).
Pay: most maintenance, and a lot of crewmembers are paid as civilians. They get paid an hourly rate. They have to pay for their own housing, and medical insurance. When tax breaks are figured in, a WG-11 senior maintainer takes home a little less than an active duty E-4
Permanent Change of Station: Every couple of years, the active duty pays millions of dollars (maybe billions?) to move people and their families to a different base. Alaska Guardsmen to not get moved, they stay here their whole careers.
Culture and experience: The guard takes better care of it's equipment. Since we hire people through an interview process, and not just take everyone off the street, we typically have an aggregate better quality member. The Guard has a sense of ownership of the airframes, since they are going to be the same airframes they're going to work on their entire career. Also, most Guardsmen have already been on active duty for awhile, and have a lot more experience than the active duty counterpart.
When a guard maintainer goes to work, he clocks in, puts his coveralls on, and starts turning wrenches. When an active duty maintainer comes to work, he goes to PT, takes a shower, goes to breakfast, comes back to work, goes to a sexual harassment briefing, moves the furniture around in his first sergeant's office, and maybe gets to do his job for a few hours a day. (this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not that much)
To illustrate the cost effectiveness of the Guard. In 2004, the Army Guard got funded at $800 per hour to operate a Blackhawk with a crew of 3. The active duty got funded at $3500 per hour to operate the same type of aircraft.
As far as rescues on McKinley, the Guard does not do that normally. That is has historically been an active duty mission provided my the 4-123 Sugarbears CH-47's out of Wainwright. That is a deal worked out between the NPS and the US Army paid for with climbing fees.
I assure all of you, that we take spending tax dollars very seriously, and try to be the best stewards of your money possible.