5,000 expected in islands for National Guard summit


POSTED: Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More than 5,000 National Guard officers and their families are expected to attend a conference of the National Guard Association of the United States in September 2013, generating $24 million in visitor spending.

Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, state adjutant general, said the conference will run from Sept. 21 to 23 and be held at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

Lt. Col. Jeff Protacio, president of the Hawaii National Guard Association, said this is the fourth time Hawaii has hosted the conference, which will include delegates from 54 states and territories.

The main business of the annual conference is to determine the congressional legislative priorities for its nearly 45,000 current and former Army and Air National Guard officers, Lee added.

The annual conference “;is always the most important event of the year for our association,”; said retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Koper, association president, in a written statement.

Mike McCartney, president and chief operating officer for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said the National Guard convention, “;coming on the heels of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation announcement in 2011, showcases Hawaii as a place where business can be conducted strategically and highlights our geographic East-West positioning.”;