The Kentucky National Guard and its predecessors have over the years been represented many times in poetry, songs, paintings and other art forms.
This begins an effort to gather these works to shed their own particular illumination on the history of the Kentucky National Guard.
On October 28, 1961, as the 80th Army Band played, the 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 123d Armor of the Kentucky Army National Guard, rolled into Fort Stewart to begin a year of active Army service during the Berlin Crisis. The Kentucky tankers, from the towns of Owensboro, Livermore, Paducah and Henderson, began the job of bringing their unit to combat readiness in the shortest possible time. They also participated in "Exercise Seneca Spear," staged by the 2d Infantry Division at Fort Stewart. It was a practical demonstration of cooperation between armor and infantry and the tankers gained experience in the realistic exercise. The tankers were released from active duty on August 12, 1962.
While at Fort Stewart, Edward A. Potts was transferred into the Battalion. During his time with the 2nd Tank he heard many wonderful stories of Kentucky and its history. He was evidently a painter in his civilian life and was inspired to create two murals for the unit. The first unit shows his vision of Kentucky and the second shows the history of the 2nd Medium Tank Battalion of the Kentucky National Guard. The paintings were prominently displayed in the Owensboro Armory, hometown of the company he served with was stationed, for many years until they were taken down during remodeling and are now in storage. No further information has been located to date about Mr. Potts.
Kentucky’s Guardians - The Official Kentucky National Guard Song by Sergeant Steven D. Thompson
The Battle of Blue Licks was fought on August 19, 1782 in Kentucky, ten months after Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown. It is considered the last battle of the American Revolutionary War. On a hill next to the Licking River in what is now Robertson County, a force of about 50 British rangers and 300 American Indians ambushed and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen killing some 64. The mural was painted by George Gray in 1938. It is on display at the Kentucky Military History Museum. Inscription on the painting: "Blue Licks—Last battle of the American Revolution August 19, 1782. Here Kentucky militiamen and volunteers under Colonels John Todd, Stephen Trigg, and Daniel Boone, and Majors Silas Harlan, Edward Bulger, Levi Tood, and Hugh McGary, engaged and were defeated by a superior force of Canadian rangers and northern Indians. In retaliation for this bloody disaster, the Kentuckians rallied and invaded the homelands of the Indians, burned their villages and crops, effectually curbing their power as savage allies of the British. Colonel Daniel Boone; A Map of the Last Battle of the American Revolution, fought in 1782." Courtesy Kentucky Historical Society
Sketch and Caption by Dave Russell - This HMMWV of the 617th Military Police Company of the Kentucky Army National Guard attched to the 42d MP BDE was being prepared to lead a convoy escort; I stopped drawing 15 minutes prior to their departure. The crew shown includes the driver (SPC Dornita Renfro; 617th MP Co) and gunner (a 42d Bde augmentee for this mission). Despite a nearly 100% chance that they will encounter hostile action, every day, these young men and women go about their jobs…coolly, seriously, professionally.
Crossing the Tigris Painting and caption information By Dave Russell - During the period January – November 2005, Company B, 1-189th Aviation Regiment of the Kentucky Army National Guard was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Here two UH-60s from the KYARNG (note the Unbridled Sprit logo on the engine cover) fly over the Tigris River on a scheduled flight between Balad (LSA Anaconda), Baghdad (Camp Victory), and other central-Iraq sites.
NGB Portrait of Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, a Raven 42 member and the first female to receive the Silver Star since World War II.
National Guard Bureau paiting of Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester. Hester was awarded the Silver Star along with Sgt. Jason Mike and Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein. Nein's award was later upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross. They were awarded the medals for their actions with the 617th Military Police Company during an ambush in Iraq on March 20, 2005. Nein's squad was escorting a convoy of supply trucks near the town of Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, when the convoy came under heavy fire. Without hesitation, Nein and his squad put themselves and their vehicles between the insurgents and the convoy. Nein and Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman awarded the Silver Star for direct combat action against an enemy, dismounted from their armored Humvees and led the counterattack against the ambush, killing 27 insurgents and capturing seven more. Two soldiers in the squad were wounded during the engagement, which lasted roughly 30 minutes.
At a Roadblock on the Road to Bataan
by Don Millsap
Luzon, Philippine Islands -- December 26, 1941
While the main attention of the beleaguered United States. forces in the Philippines was focused on Japanese Columns streaming inland from the Lingayen Gulf in the west, another enemy force came ashore on the east coast of Luzon at Lamon Bay. Company C 194th Tank Battalion from Salinas, California, was attached to a Filipino army regiment near the town of Lucban. The 2d platoon was ordered to make a show of force that would take it down a narrow trail. As the tank, commanded by SSgt. Emil C. Morello, rounded a sharp curve it came face-to-face with an enemy roadblock. Without any hesitation, the tank smashed into the roadblock and the Japanese gun behind it. Before being hit, Morello's tank fired on other gun positions. After pretending to be dead, Morello and his crew escaped the next morning only to be either killed or captured, along with the other members of the 192d and 194th Tank Battalions, at Bataan. These two battalions were National Guard units with companies from California, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. For their gallantry in action, both units were awarded three Presidential Unit Citations. Today's 1st Battalion, 149th Armor, California Army National Guard carries on the gallant traditions of the 194th Tank Battalion. The Harrodsburg National Guard unit became Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion.
National Guard Heritage Print of the Battle of Salman Pak, where the Raven 42 Squad from the 617th Military Police Company, Kentucky Army National Guard, repelled an attacked by 50 insurgents on a coalition convoy. For the squad's actions that day, members received numerous awards to include a Distinguished Service Cross and two Silver Stars.
The Battle of Takur Ghar
National Guard Heritage Series
by Keith Rocco
Paktia Province, Afghanistan, March 4, 2002
Operation Enduring Freedom, the military action against Taliban and al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan, was the catalyst for the largest mobilization of Air National Guard personnel since the Korean War. It also marked the first time that Air National Guard ground units, particularly pararescue personnel and air combat controllers, were used to support joint ground combat operations.
As part of Enduring Freedom, in March 2002 a joint military operation named "Anaconda" was mounted in Paktia province to surround and defeat Taliban forces hiding in the area. On the third day of Operation Anaconda an Army MH-47E Chinook helicopter was fired upon as it attempted to land on a ridge on Takur Ghar mountain. Taking heavy fire, the helicopter lurched and attempted to take-off to extricate itself from the field of fire. When the Chinook lurched, one of the Navy SEALs on board, Petty Officer First Class Neil C. Roberts, fell from the rear ramp. Too damaged to return for Petty Officer Roberts, the Chinook landed further down the mountain.
A second MH-47E attempted to land and rescue Roberts, but it too was fired upon and forced to leave the immediate area. The third MH-47E to attempt a landing on what became known as Roberts’ Ridge was hit with automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades while still 20 feet in the air. The helicopter, containing an Army Ranger Team and Technical Sergeant Keary Miller, a Combat Search and Rescue Team Leader from the 123d Special Tactics Squadron, Kentucky Air National Guard, hit the ground hard. Within seconds, one helicopter crewman, the right door gunner, was killed, as were three Army Rangers. The 17-hour ordeal that followed would result in the loss of seven American lives, including Petty Officer Roberts.
Technical Sergeant Miller not only managed to drag the wounded helicopter pilot to safety, but also orchestrated the establishment of multiple casualty collection points. In between treating the wounded, Miller set up the distribution of ammunition for the Army Rangers who were taking the fight to the enemy. For his extraordinary life-saving efforts while putting himself in extreme danger under enemy fire, Technical Sergeant Miller was awarded the Silver Star by the U.S. Navy, one of the few members of the Air National Guard to be so honored.
The 3rd Medium Tank Battalion, 123rd Armor commanded by LTC Nelson Meredith, was composed of five companies located at Bowling Green, Russellville, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Marion. They arrived at Fort Knox on 10 October 1961 where they underwent both field and classroom training. The 522 men of the 3rd Tank were returned to National Guard status at 0001 hours on 12 August 1962.
During their time at Fort KNox contributions on the part of members of the Third Tank made possible this stained glass window for the "F" Avenue Chapel at Fort KNox. The window is in two sections with the entire unit some 3 feet by 9 feet tall and weighing in at some 120 pounds. The windows were saved by personnel at Fort Knox when the Chapel was demolished. The window was returned to the Kentucky Naitonal Guard in 2007 and it is hoped that the window can be cleaned, repaired and put back on display at a KYNG facility in the future.
"Remember the River Raisin!"
National Guard Heritage Series
by Ken Riley
Moraviantown, Upper Canada -- October 5, 1813
Following Commodore Perry's success at Lake Erie, a U.S. force, commanded by Gen. William Henry Harrison, engaged British troops 75 miles east of Detroit. His command included a regiment of Kentucky Mounted Riflemen led by Col. Richard M. Johnson, made up of picked militia volunteers armed with long Kentucky rifles and tomahawks. The Kentucky troops scattered the enemy army -- British regulars, and Indians under the famed Tecumseh. The Battle of the Thames was revenge for an earlier massacre of Kentucky militia on the River Raisin. Coupled with Perry's triumph, it ended a series of defeats and helped restore U.S. dominance in the northwest region.
The Road to War - Painting and caption information - By Michael Goettner - Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Operation Desert Shield / Storm - 25 February 1991 Southern Iraq. The painting was commissioned by the 138th Fires Brigade in 2011 for a limited edition of signed and numbers prints of the original painting. The painting features the 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery Battalion who mobilized on 10 December 1990 and returned in May 1991. The unit was commanded by MAJ John Wayne Smith and the units were from Glasgow, Tompkinsville, Campbellsville, Monticello and Springfield, Kentucky. While deployed they were assigned to the 196th Field Artillery Brigade, 24th Infantry Division, XVIII Corps; 1st Cavalry Division, VII Corps. Their mission was to provide fire support in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait. During the deployment they worked with the 101st and XVIII Airborne Corps as well as VII Corps; given mission to provide fire support to 6 coalition divisions. The concept for the artwork is taken from a photograph taken by Lt. John Dooley of A Battery.
Sketches published in the 1943 history of the 149th drawn by CPL Stephen Sofranko serving in CO E of the 149th.
Contains images of various posters produced by the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard for Kentucky National Guard Day and Kentucky National Guard Heritage Posters.