WASHINGTON, October 3 -


Mr. Speaker, on September 11, 2001, Lieutenant Colonel Rolando Aguilar was already in the cockpit of his F-16 at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. He was a member of the Texas Air National Guard.

He was in his cockpit when he heard the sound of scrambling horns alerting him to fly a mission. He and his wingman took off and they headed east, and they intercepted Air Force 1 over the Gulf of Mexico and protected the former guardsmen from their unit from any possible attack. They stayed guarding him and flying next to Air Force 1 until they were relieved. Yes, it was President Bush.

According to them, the Texas Air National Guard was the first to be in the air on September 11. The members of the Guard and Air Force Reserve--and, Mr. Speaker, I was a member of the Reserve at the same time President Bush was a guardsman, at the same base at Ellington Field--kept them flying, have served and are serving our Nation honorably since their existence. They are on watch today in places around the world. That's why we need to fully fund the Air Force Reserve and National Guard like we do the regular military.

There should be no shutdown for these volunteers that protect American. Pass the National Guard and Air Force Reserve funding bill and keep Lieutenant Colonel Aguilar flying.

And that's just the way it is.