Master Sgt. Christina Mayangitan, an Oregon guardsman working in Washington D.C. attended the “Joining Forces Initiative” at the White House on November 28th, 2022.
The Joining Forces event brought together National Guardsmen and military families from over 30 states for a three-hour meeting with White House staff, the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) Jill Biden, and Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB), Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson.
Mayangitan is currently on a statutory tour working at the Pentagon as a Force Management Program Manager for the Technician Recruitment, Relocation, and Retention Incentive Program, and was selected by Maj. Gen. Michael Stencel, Oregon’s Adjutant General, to join him in representing Oregon guardsmen at the event. Also invited was Mayangitan’s daughter, Makayla.
“It was an honor to get the opportunity to participate in the Joining Forces event.. and [it was] an amazing experience for my daughter,” said Mayangitan. “Their team was truly grateful for our children’s stories and insights about their national guard experiences.”
Makayla was one of just a few military youths to sit at a round table and speak directly with the First Lady. In their conversation, they discussed the differences between on- and off-base schools.
“When Makayla and I moved here from Oregon, we moved on base and she attended a school on Fort Belvoir,” said Mayangitan. “This year, she attended a school off post. The First Lady was interested to know the differences between the two schools, and whether or not there were activities at her current school that recognized and supported military children.”
During the event, attendees discussed some of the unique challenges members of the guard face and identified areas of opportunity to better support guardsmen and their families.
Dr. Biden recognized how the guard plays an essential role in supporting active duty, and responding to local communities in crisis.
“Our national guard members and families have served alongside our active-duty forces in every major conflict,” said Biden. “Here at home, you are a beacon of hope when hurricanes flood our cities, when fire destroys homes, or when a pandemic grips the nation.”
Hokanson, current CNBG, and the former Adjutant General of Oregon, appreciated the chance for guardsmen and their families to highlight their experiences.
“I truly appreciated the experience of getting to meet the First Lady and the sincere appreciation she had not only for our children but for guard members as a whole.”
For Mayangitan, the meeting recognized the contributions of guardsmen and underscored the importance of supporting service members regardless of status.
“It is uplifting to know the…administration actively supports and is driven to not only serve military family members on active duty, but national guard, veterans, caregivers, and survivors as well.”