CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — West Virginia has historically had one of the highest rates of military participation in the nation. One of the most prominent items in the new defense budget is a 3.1 percent pay raise, the largest military wage hike in a decade. The head of the National Guard says it’s well deserved.
West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General James Hoyer said, “Well I think we continue to ask more and more out of our men and women in uniform every day, every week, every year, going forward.”
A lot of those pay increases will be spent in West Virginia. The state will also get tens of millions of dollars for C-130 and propeller maintenance at the Air National Guard facility in Charleston, W.Va. And there is more funding for National Guard led anti-drug programs in schools, and environmental cleanup funds for so-called PFAS chemical contamination.
“West Virginia National Guard returns 25 federal dollars, for every state dollar the legislature and the governor invest in us. Where else are you going to get that kind of return on investment? And it’s programs like these that help that,” said Adj. Gen. Hoyer.
Starbase, and the Mountaineer Challenge Academy, which often help at-risk youth, will keep their federal funding after it was almost cut from the Defense Budget. Last Friday the academy graduated another class:
“One hundred and forty-eight kids, 130 got their high school diploma. About 15 percent are joining the United States Military. So why wouldn’t we invest in programs like that,” said Adj. Gen. Hoyer.
The West Virginia Army National Guard employes 750 people. And it’s not just the federal funding. The West Virginia National Guard will also be seeking substantial funds from the state legislature when it meets here in January.