The Pennsylvania National Guard (PNG) and the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) hosted a Guard and Veterans Day event at the Commonwealth Keystone Building on June 6, 2023. The event highlighted programs for legislators, their staff, commonwealth employees and Pennsylvanians.
“Today we celebrate the service of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania National Guard. We recognize the assistance the agency and departments provide to the Commonwealth and its citizens,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “Today is a showcase of the positive ways we impact Pennsylvania. Your National Guard protects and defends, the DMVA serves our veterans, and the Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy educates our youth. Together we serve Pennsylvania.”
The day also featured a special observance of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 30-year state partnership with the Lithuanian Armed Forces, which was highlighted by the presentation of an anniversary proclamation by Gov. Josh Shapiro. The State Partnership Program between Pennsylvania and Lithuania began in 1993 and it has not only increased civil and military cooperation but is also an example of the United States’ strong bonds with our allies. It is one of the oldest state partnerships in the National Guard and was named as one of the Department of Defense National Guard State Partnership Program partnerships of the year for 2022.
“The great friendship between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Republic of Lithuania fostered by the establishment of our military-to-military partnership has grown tremendously,” Schindler added. “Moving forward, we will work to strengthen our relationship by exploring additional civilian to civilian cooperation.”
A number of table-top displays at the event demonstrated how the PNG and DMVA work together to serve our nation, commonwealth, veterans and community partners. PNG and DMVA displayed equipment and highlighted resources for veterans and military families.
With a combined state and federal budget of over $945 million, the DMVA and the PNG employ approximately 22,000 civilian and military personnel in some 90 communities statewide. Our economic impact exceeds $1.4 billion. The PNG is the nation’s third largest Guard with approximately 18,000 members, while Pennsylvania is home to more than 700,000 veterans, the fourth largest veteran population in the country.