As a member of the Illinois National Guard, David Helfrich was called upon to be of service at the 2012 NATO Summit where leaders and dignitaries from 70 countries gathered in Chicago for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 25th meeting. While NATO’s primary objectives were to discuss Afghanistan’s future; investments in global defense; and 21st century challenges, ILANG’s (Illinois Army and National Guard) mission was to successfully transport all NATO, ISAF, and other US and foreign delegations throughout the Summit’s duration. As one of the largest ever held, and the first in the United States to be held outside Washington DC, the operation and logistics were no easy task. David served as the primary movement coordinator overseeing the daytime operations center set up by the national guard for “tracking and communication of delegation drivers.” Over 1700 movements were tracked during the 4-day event. Dave delcared the mission among the top-five most rewarding and challenging experiences during his 21-year military career.
The team’s performance did not go unnoticed. The President, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and the Governor’s Office to name a few, all had very positive comments and made a special effort to recognize these efforts.