[Congressional Record Volume 153, Number 49 (Wednesday, March 21, 2007)]
[Page S3515]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS



 Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I rise to honor and recognize the 
immeasureable contributions MG Roger E. Combs has made to the U.S. 
Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the National Guard Bureau, his family, and 
a grateful nation.
  When people talk about the ``Spirit of America'' and the people who 
helped make this country great, all one really has to do is mention the 
name of GEN Roger Combs. General Combs has dedicated his life to 
serving his country both in the military and as a civilian. His 
experiences, hard work, and honest counsel have gained him the respect 
of his peers and his community.
  Born and raised on a small dairy farm in Stanberry, MO, to Ruby Fern 
and H.H. Combs, General Combs studied genetics and productive 
physiology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. While he planned to 
go into the family business and become a veterinarian, fate and the 
Vietnam War intervened and he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968. 
Graduating with honors from the USMC Basic Officer's Infantry School 
and selected for the U.S. Army Rotary wing's flight school, General 
Combs served a combat tour as a CH-46 helicopter pilot from 1969 to 
1970 with HMM-364, ``The Purple Foxes'' at Marble Mountain Air 
Facility, Republic of Vietnam. Flying over 500 combat missions, he 
earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, two single mission air medals, and 
37 ``strick/flight awards.'' After returning from active duty in 
Vietnam, General Combs served in many positions, including as an 
operations officer and aircraft maintenance officer with HMM-263 at 
Marine Corps Air Station, Quantico, VA.
  General Combs' work in Missouri merits special recognition and is the 
reason I felt compelled to make a statement on his behalf in the 
Congressional Record. After leaving active duty in 1973, General Combs 
joined the Missouri Army National Guard and flew UH-1 ``Huey's'' with 
the 635th Aviation Company, from Whiteman, AFB, MO. He transferred to 
the Missouri Air National Guard in 1978 and later became the director 
of intelligence for the 139th Tactical Airlift Group in St. Joseph, MO. 
Yet it was at the Missouri Air National Guard Headquarters in St. 
Joseph, MO that General Combs become nationally recognized for his 
expertise in developing long-range strategic planning. As first a 
planner, then general officer and member of the Air Reserve Forces 
Policy Committee, General Combs was instrumental in analyzing the 
future needs of the National Guard and advising senior policy makers on 
the best course of action.
  General Combs' footprint extended outside of the military. Upon his 
return to Missouri after serving in Vietnam, Combs returned to law 
school at the University of Missouri and upon graduation became a 
partner in a law firm, a prosecuting attorney, and was elected a judge 
in 1990. This past December he retired from the bench and returned to 
being a part time prosecutor and general practitioner.
  Perhaps the best measure of General Combs' legacy comes from those 
who have worked along side him. ``Judge Combs,'' as he is 
affectionately known by his peers and military associates, is an 
excellent lawyer and military strategist with impeccable character and 
integrity. The ``Judge'' was effective in both the military and 
judicial branches in encouraging parties to seek arbitration and 
dispute resolution instead of litigation. One good friend and colleague 
recalled that it was not only General ``Judge'' Combs, dry humor which 
endeared him to his peers but his sincere interest in caring and 
protecting those who served under him. ``He goes to extraordinary links 
to ensure they are cared for, ``said one colleague.
  I cannot conclude these remarks without commending the dedicated and 
loving support of General Combs' wife, Gloria, and his three children 
David, Matthew, and Susan. Married almost 35 years ago at Conaway Hall 
at Andrews Air Force Base, Gloria has remained General Combs' most 
loyal supporter and confidant.
  General ``Judge'' Combs has led an extraordinary life in which he has 
answered his Nation's call to duty and served courageously in war and 
admirably from the bench. It is my hope and prayer that ``Judge'' Combs 
will continue to thrive alongside Gloria in whatever endeavor he opts 
to pursue. If his former, and current, success is any indicator, I am 
certain that the years ahead will be both fruitful and rewarding. God 
bless you, ``Judge'' and best wishes.