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| Feb. 16, 2022
Kentucky Guardsman makes move to the Capital in support of the Commonwealth
By Sgt. Jesse Elbouab
FRANKFORT, Ky. –
Service members in the Guard can typically hold several positions within the organization throughout their career, and for the commander of the Joint Forces Headquarters, this is no different. His career started twenty years ago in Missouri and has no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Maj. Michael Hart raised his right hand in July 2000, enlisting in the Missouri Army National Guard as an interior electrician. Before enlisting, he took his time weighing his options, considering his goals and needs before deciding the guard was his best option.
"I knew I wanted to go to school -- that was the most important thing to me at the time," said Hart. "I also knew I wanted to be in the military as an officer. I went with the guard so I could focus on school and still have a civilian career while earning benefits that were important to me."
Hart served the Missouri Army Guard for six years before switching over to the state's Air Guard as a Biomedical Equipment Technician. Ultimately, his civilian career landed Hart on Boone Center, installing a flight simulator for the Kentucky Guard’s pilot training.
While working at the flight facility, Hart met and befriended aviator Stephen Martin, who was a young captain at the time, who encouraged him to switch from Missouri to Kentucky.
"You are driving five hours for drill in Missouri, and you want to become an officer. Why not do that here in Kentucky?" Hart recollected Martin expressing to him. "I thought, that's not a bad idea. So, by August 2011, I commissioned through the OCS accelerated program thanks to now Lt. Col. Martin."
After commissioning, Hart was transferred to the 198
MP as the battalion Intelligence Officer. He continued serving in various roles within the 149
MEB up until he deployed to Al Asad Airbase, Iraq in 2019. Recently he served on COVID-19 orders while commanding Joint Forces Headquarters.
However, he is preparing to embark on one of his most prevalent missions to date.
The Army Congressional Fellowship Program is a 44-month program that includes pursuing a master's degree in Legislative Affairs at George Washington University in Washington D.C., and serve on the staff of a Member of Congress, and utilization on the Army Staff in a congressional-related duty position.
Hart has been accepted in the 2023 course that will officially begin in May of this year.
"It was a very extensive process," Hart said. "A lot of writing and the packet required about fifteen documents or so.”
While the application process is rigorous and the selection process is very selective, seats are reserved for only the best and brightness of leadership across the nation. Of the twenty seats available, only three went to National Guard candidates nationwide.
Before beginning the fellowship, Hart must complete the Army’s Intermediate Level Education (ILE) course. This school is required for the current major to be promoted to lieutenant colonel. The four-month school proceeds the program that he will begin in May.
As a part of this tenure, Hart will be at the forefront of the conversations that influence the Guard's future from their infancy.
"Part of this fellowship is working on the staff of a congressman or congresswoman," said Hart. "One of the major things that I am looking forward to is seeing the day-to-day operations at that level, as a staffer; and developing an understanding of how the organization functions from the highest level."
"In addition, working in the National Guard Bureau legislative office," He adds. "Truly where the 'money meets the Guard' is an incredible experience to say, "wow, this is where it all happens."
Over the past several years, leadership from the Kentucky Guard have picked up their lives to make D.C. their temporary home in support of the Commonwealth's mission. As Hart completes ILE in preparation for the next chapter of his career, it is evident that his work ethic, his pursuit of opportunity, and his voice will be essential for the organization's future for years to come.
"There are a lot of relationships to be made there," Hart concluded. I will come back with knowledge and relationships -- that is always an excellent thing for Kentucky."
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