The top soldier in the Kansas National Guard is on his way to a post in Washington.
The adjutant general of Kansas, Maj. Gen. James F. Rueger, has accepted an offer that will allow him to have an impact on soldiers across the nation.
Rueger, a former Kansas University student and graduate of Kansas State University, became the first Kansas adjutant general to be named chairman of the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee.
The ARFPC helps promote policy changes that help reserve-component soldiers receive better training and equipment, Rueger said. The committee is composed of members of the Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserves.
As the 32nd Kansas adjutant general, a post he has held since appointment in December 1990, Rueger has command of the Kansas Army National Guard.
Rueger had been a member of the ARFPC committee for almost three years.
Despite the personal honor the new post represents, Rueger said he had mixed emotions when he was asked to serve as ARFPC chairman.
He was a little overwhelmed at the responsibilities, Rueger said. But he accepted the position nonetheless.
"I've never turned down anybody who asked me to do anything since I've been wearing this uniform these 42 years," Rueger said.
As chairman of the ARFPC, Rueger will conduct meetings and coordinate with the Secretary of the Army's office and other Army components.
Joy Moser, a spokeswoman for the Kansas National Guard, said Rueger's new position will enable him to help bring about changes.
"You can affect policy and improve things. He can at least bring topics and issues at the forefront," Moser said.
Rueger also has an opportunity to get ideas bounced up to the Army chief of staff, an important ability at a time when active and reserve components of the Army are competing for what they consider to be their fair slices of decreasing military budgets.
"This is a very important position. This is a committee at the national Army level," Moser said.
In addition to his positions as ARFPC chairman and adjutant general, Rueger has served in many military roles. He was chairman of the National Guard Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health for three years. He also represented the Midwest states for six years on the Executive Council of the National Guard Association of the United States.
Rueger has also gained distinction through various active-duty assignments and decorations throughout his career and by becoming part of the only father-son team ever to graduate from the Army's Air Assault School at Camp Gruber, Okla. Maj. Gen. Rueger was 52 and his son was 22 when they completed the course in 1989.
His latest military laurel, the ARFPC chairmanship, was not a position that Rueger sought.
"It's something you really don't seek. It is the response to leaders in Washington," Rueger said. "It does take time (to fulfill the duties associated with the post), but I'm able to do stuff for soldiers in Kansas."
As chairman, Rueger will be commuting to Washington, D.C., several times during his term. But he said the position will not change his life too drastically.
"I'm just performing my duties in Washington instead of Topeka," Rueger said.
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