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NEWS | July 9, 2020

It’s a family business

By Sgt. Courtney Rorick

On a recent, chaotic morning inside the Manchester armory, a young soldier plugs critical information into a slide deck for a senior leader briefing. For Spc. Kailey MacDonald, it’s no sweat.

Among the hundreds of NH guardsmen who have been activated for COVID-19 relief efforts, the firefinder radar operator for Headquarters Battery, 197th Field Artillery Brigade, has handled her new role as an operations specialist for Joint Task Force Granite with diligence and poise.

“Spc. MacDonald has been an invaluable member of the team and a true, professional soldier,” said Capt. Raymond Youngs, operations officer for JTF Granite. “During the transition (from JTF 197 to JTF Granite) she was my go-to person.”

Added Master Sgt. Caleb Smith, her NCOIC, “Her performance has been outstanding each and every day.”

MacDonald has been a key player for the task force since she was called up in April.

“There are people showing up every day, working extra hard, and doing their best,” MacDonald said. “We want to continue that positive impact, and I think what we’ve been doing for the state is an extremely positive thing.”

MacDonald joined the New Hampshire Army National Guard in 2015, and has never regretted the decision.

“We have a saying in my family, ‘It’s a family business,’” MacDonald said. “I’ve had many different members of my family in each branch. All but the Coast Guard.”

Her brother is in the NHARNG. Her Dad and another brother were Marines.

“She’s not your typical specialist,” said Capt. Morgan Lemmon, task force battle captain. “She has proven herself to be a true team player. She is incredibly observant and identifies errors and inconsistencies that would otherwise be missed.”

he comes to the table already having developed solutions to the problems she identifies, Lemmon added.

MacDonald appreciates the trust shown by her leadership and relishes the opportunity to work outside of her normal military occupation, which involves detecting enemy forces with specialized radar.

“It is reassuring to see the guard working with the community to support relief efforts,” she said. “We don’t usually get to do these things.”