Story by: Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Named after Chief Warrant Officer four retired Dewey Pope, the 2014 Kentucky National Guard Warrant Officer of the Year was presented to Chief Warrant Officer five Stuart “Swoop” Lindfors, of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade, at Boone National Guard Center, in Frankfort, Ky., Mar. 4.
“I’m extremely proud and honored to have the opportunity to present this prestigious award,” said State Command Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops. “It truly recognizes the outstanding Warrant Officer in the Kentucky National Guard.”
Lindfors, affectionately known as “Swoop”, has been in the Kentucky Guard for more than 14 years. He earned his nickname in 2002 while on a maintenance test flight in El Salvador trying to test the Automatic Flight Control System and did a low pass of the airfield. Walking off the flight line afterwards, one of the master sergeants in the unit addressed him as ‘Swoop’ and the name stuck.
According to Stoops, Lindfors not only stands out as a warrant officer but an aviator as well.
“Chief Lindfors is rare among aviators especially. Warrant Officer pilots not only have to be good at flying, but they also have to be proficient in one of four aviation “tracks”, either as an instructor pilot, a tactical operations officer, a maintenance test pilot or a safety officer,” said Stoops.”Occasionally you’ll find a warrant who tracks more than one, sometimes even three – but never all four. Swoop, over the course of his career, has become qualified and proficient in all four of these specialties. Because of this experience and know-how, he brings a wealth of experience to whatever position he’s in.”
Not only is Stuart an invaluable asset in this organization, but he volunteers a significant amount of his time helping with “hearts for heroes” and “military missions” projects as well as serving as one of the Den Leaders for the local Cub Scout Organization, of which is son, Spencer, is a Webelo.
“This is a great honor for my dad,” said Spencer. “I’m really proud of him and really glad I got to be here to be a part of it.”
The Soldier that the award was named after in 2007, retired Chief Warrant Officer four Dewey Pope, was also in attendance to honor Lindfors.
“Stu receiving this award is absolutely well-deserved as are all of the guys who have received it over the years,” said Pope. “I count this award as the biggest honor the Kentucky Guard has ever bestowed upon me and I’m happy to see Mr. Lindfors name added to the roster.”
Story by John Trowbridge, Kentucky National Guard
In recognition of March as Women’s History Month kentuckyguard.com is publishing several articles honoring women who are significant figures in Kentucky’s military history. The following is one such story ….
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman veteran to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Her medal is credited to the Commonwealth of Kentucky due to the fact that she officially entered the service at Louisville, KY.
Walker was born on November 26, 1832 in Oswego, New York, into an abolitionist family. She became an early advocate for Women’s Rights. In June 1855 Mary, the only woman in her class, became the second woman to graduate from a medical school in the nation when she graduated from the Syracuse Medical College, the nation’s first medical school which accepted women and men on an equal basis.
In 1856 she married another physician, Albert Miller, wearing trousers and a man’s coat and kept her own name. Together they set up a medical practice in Rome, NY, but the public was not ready to accept a woman physician, and their practice floundered. They were divorced 13 years later.
When the Civil War began in 1861, she went to Washington and attempted to join the Union Army. Denied a commission as a medical officer, she volunteered, serving as an acting assistant surgeon — the first female surgeon in the US Army. As an unpaid volunteer, she worked in the US Patent Office Hospital in Washington. Later, she worked as a field surgeon near the front lines for almost two years, including Fredericksburg and Chattanooga after the Battle of Chickamauga.
In September 1863, Walker was finally appointed assistant surgeon in the Army of the Cumberland. She made herself a slightly modified officer’s uniform to wear, in response to the demands of traveling with the soldiers and working in field hospitals. Later she was appointed assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry. During this assignment it is generally accepted that she served as a spy for the Union Army. She continually crossed Confederate lines to treat civilians. She was taken prisoner in 1864 by Confederate troops and imprisoned in Richmond, VA for four months until she was exchanged, with two dozen other Union doctors, for 17 Confederate surgeons.
She was released back to the 52nd Ohio as a contract surgeon, but spent the rest of the war practicing at the Louisville Female Prison Hospital and an orphan’s asylum in Tennessee. She was paid $766.16 for her wartime service. Following the war she would receive a pension from the Federal government for her wartime service which would eventually be $20 per month.
After the war, Walker became a writer and lecturer, touring the states and abroad on women’s rights, dress reform, health and temperance issues. Tobacco, she said, resulted in paralysis and insanity. Women’s clothing, she said, was immodest and inconvenient. She was elected president of the National Dress Reform Association in 1866. Walker prided herself by being arrested numerous times for wearing full male dress, including wing collar, bow tie, and top hat. In 1872 in Oswego, Mary E. Walker attempted to vote, one of many women who made the attempt over the years on the road to full suffrage. In 1890, Mary declared herself a candidate for Congress in Oswego. The next year, she campaigned for a U.S. Senate seat and, the following year, paid her way to the Democratic National Convention.
In 1917 her medal, along with the medals of 910 others was taken away when Congress revised the Medal of Honor standards to include only “actual combat with an enemy.” She refused to give back her Medal of Honor, wearing it every day until her death in 1919. President Jimmy Carter reinstated Walker’s medal posthumously in 1977, citing her “distinguished gallantry, self-sacrifice, patriotism, dedication and unflinching loyalty to her country, despite the apparent discrimination because of her sex.”
She died in Oswego, Ny. on February 21, 1919 and is buried in the Rural Cemetery on the Cemetery Road. Ironically, the 19th Amendment giving women the vote was ratified that same year.
In 1982, the US Postal Service issued a 20¢ stamp honoring Dr. Mary Walker. The stamp commemorates the first woman to have been awarded the Medal of Honor and the second woman to graduate from a medical school in the United States.
DR. MARY E. WALKER
Rank and organization: Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian), U. S. Army. Places and dates: Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C., October 1861; Chattanooga, Tenn., following Battle of Chickamauga, September 1863; Prisoner of War, April 10, 1864-August 12, 1864, Richmond, Va.; Battle of Atlanta, September 1864. Entered service at: Louisville, Ky. Born: 26 November 1832, Oswego County, N.Y.
Citation: Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, “has rendered valuable service to the Government. and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways,” and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made: It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her.
Story by Maj. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The United States Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team will perform at this year’s Thunder Over Louisville Air Show, officials from the Kentucky Derby Festival announced Feb. 25.
The team will perform a single-ship demonstration of precision maneuvers to showcase the unique capabilities of the world’s only operational fifth-generation fighter, according to the Air Force.
The F-22 is the second U.S. military act to be featured in the show, joining the Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team. Past Thunders have featured a wider range of U.S. military aircraft, but new budget restrictions have limited participation to top-tier acts like the F-22 and Blue Angels teams, festival organizers said.
“Thunder Over Louisville and the Kentucky Derby Festival have always enjoyed great support from all branches of military,” said Mike Berry, president and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival, the two-week-long celebration that precedes the Kentucky Derby and kicks off each year with Thunder Over Louisville. “We’re thrilled that more military will be able to participate in the 25th Thunder show, making it even more spectacular.”
The Kentucky Air National Guard will again be providing hundreds of hours of support to Navy and Air Force aircraft flying in the event, as it has every year since military aircraft were added to Thunder in 1992.
The F-22 “Raptor” is the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft and last performed at Thunder in 2012. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities, according to the Air Force.
The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions and is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft, officials said.
Thunder Over Louisville is set for April 12. A full air show schedule will be announced in the coming weeks
The following is a compilation of significant dates in the Nation and in our Commonwealth’s military history. For more on the legacy of our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, visit the Kentucky National Guard eMuseum.
March 1, 1781 – Attack on Strode’s Station, Clark County. (Early Indian Wars)
March 1, 1847 – Central mound in the Frankfort cemetery conveyed to the State for a public burying ground, The State Mound.
March 2, 1943 – Battle of Bismarck Sea began. (World War II)
March 2, 1968 – Operation Rolling Thunder began. Operation Rolling Thunder marked the first sustained American assault on North Vietnamese territory and thus represented a major expansion of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. (Vietnam War)
March 3, 1931 – “Star Spangled Banner” made U.S. National Anthem.
March 4, 1966 – Operation Utah (Vietnam War)
March 4, 2002 – Takur Ghar, Patkia Province, Afghanistan-Tech Sgt. Keary Miller, a Combat Search and Rescue Team Leader from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, earns a Silver Star for his actions in pulling wounded men out of the line of fire after their MH-47E helicopter crashed landed due to ground fire. Once he established a safe causality treatment area he immediately began giving first aid to a growing number of men. Later he stripped ammunition from the dead and injured and, while repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire, resupplied those men still able to defend the position. Although seven soldiers lost their lives and ten others were seriously wounded during this 17-hour engagement with Taliban fighters, probably several more would have died without Miller’s heroic service. (Global War on Terrorism)
March 5, 1860 – Act for organization of the Kentucky Militia (State Guard Law).
March 7, 1777 – First siege of Harrodsburg by 47 Indians, under their chief, Blackfish. (Early Indian Wars)
March 7, 1862 – Capt. William Black from Woodford County, Ky., while serving with the 37th Illinois Infantry, single-handedly confronted a Confederate assault during the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., and turned the tide of the battle. Black would receive the Medal of Honor for his actions. Black’s brother, John, also received the award later that year at the Battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., making them one of the few sets of brothers to earn the Medal of Honor. (Civil War)
March 7, 1951 – Operation Ripper began. (Vietnam War)
March 7, 1867 – 235 copies ordered to be purchased of Adjutant General Daniel W. Lindsey’s Report for 1861-66, known as the “History of Kentucky Soldiers during the late War;” by the Kentucky State Legislature.
March 9, 1867 – The Kentucky legislature cedes to the United States government jurisdiction over the national cemeteries at Perryville, Camp Nelson, Lebanon, and at Mill Springs.
March 9, 1870 – Josiah Stoddard Johnston is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. John W. Stevenson.
March 11, 1968 – Operation Resolve to Win began. (Vietnam War)
March 12, 2004 – Sgt. Glenn Scott Stanfill, Perry County, sustained fatal injuries when the HUMMWV (M998) he was driving was struck by a tractor-trailer on the Hal Rogers Parkway just East of Manchester, Ky. Stanfill was in route to the East Kentucky Training Site in Artemus with Bravo Company, 206th Engineer Battalion, Hazard, Ky., as part of a battalion Field Training Exercise (FTX).
March 13, 1922 – Pvt. Frank Crone of Covington, a member of the Kentucky National Guard, was on duty as a guard at the Newport Rolling Mill, he was being relieved from duty by John Yates of Newport. Crone was accidentally killed when a revolver slipped from Yates’ pocket and fell to the ground, discharging and mortally wounding Crone.
March 14, 1862 – Engagement at Pound Gap, Letcher County. (Civil War)
March 14, 1932 – Henry Herman Denhardt is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Ruby Laffoon.
March 18, 1969 – Operation Breakfast. (Vietnam War)
March 18, 2014 – In the largest Medal of Honor ceremonies in U.S. history, President Barack Obama presents 24 Army Veterans with the nation’s highest honor for their actions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The Soldiers were previously recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, but upgraded after further review of their actions.
March 19, 1836 – Arsenal at Frankfort burnt, with 4,740 stand of arms, besides equipments.
March 19, 1912 – Kentucky State Guard officially renamed the Kentucky National Guard.
March 19, 1924 – James Arthur Kehoe is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. William J. Fields.
March 19, 2005– Sgt. Jonathan “Adam” Hughes, of Lebanon, Marion Co., Ky., was killed in Iraq when his armored HMMWV vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device (IED) during an escort patrol for a convoy enroute to Baghdad International Airport. At the time of his death, Hughes was assigned to B Battery, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery, based in Campbellsville, Ky. He joined the Guard in May 2001 when he was 17. His unit mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in November and deployed to Southwest Asia in January 2005. (Global War on Terrorism)
March 22, 1782 – Estill’s defeat by Indians, near Little Mountain (Mount Sterling). (Early Indian Wars)
March 23, 2006 – Staff Sgt. Brock A. Beery, of Whitehouse, Tenn., was killed when his armored vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device (IED) near Al Habbaniyah, west of Fallujah in Iraq. At the time of the incident Beery was driving a fully-armored light medium tactical vehicle (LMTV). Beery was assigned to the Kentucky Army National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Armor, based in Bowling Green. The unit mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in March of 2005 and deployed to the Persian Gulf that July (Global War on Terrorism)
March 24, 1992 – SSgt. William Dean Bentley of Elizabethtown (Hardin County) died while on active duty for training at Fort Knox from cardiac arrest while training at the Kentucky Military Academy’s Non-Commissioned Officer Academy in the Primary Leadership Development Course during a field problem. Immediate aid was rendered by members of the 475th MASH and Emergency Room Staff member from Ireland Army Hospital, also participating in PLDC, but they were unable to revive him. Bentley was a member of Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, located in Elizabethtown.
March 25 – Medal of Honor Day.
March 25, 1917 – Claude Somerville of Portland Tenn., died at the Louisville city hospital, following surgery. He had been ill with measles and later developed pneumonia and after recovering from that became ill from emphysema. He enlisted in the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the Kentucky National Guard in Franklin, Kentucky. He died shortly after returning from federal active duty on the Mexican Border.
March 29, 1973 – Last remaining U.S. forces withdraw from South Vietnam.
March 30, 1825 – Confederate General Samuel Maxey is born in Tompkinsville, Ky.
March 30, 1951 – Capt. Merlin R. “Bob” Kehrer perished in the crash of his F-51 “Mustang” near Leesburg, Va., while returning to Louisville from Bolling Air Force Base , D.C. He was a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard.
March 30, 2005 – Sgt. Eric Lee Toth, of Edmonton, Metcalfe Co., Ky, was killed in Iraq when his HUMVEE encountered a vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while returning from an escort patrol for a convoy along the main supply route in Baghdad. Toth joined the National Guard in May 2001. He was assigned to A Battery, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery, based in Tompkinsville, Ky. This unit mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in November and deployed to Southwest Asia in January 2005. (Global War on Terrorism)
Story by Chief Warrant Officer Joseph P. Lyddane, 138th Fires Brigade
COVINGTON, Ky. – As the Kentucky Army National Guard continues to conduct operations in support of the war on terror, the Soldiers and families thereof continue to combat their own conflicts in the form of reintegration. The spouse who remains home assumes the daily tasks as if nothing changed when in reality they now have acquired the responsibilities of the father, the mother, comforter, disciplinarian, bill payer, banker, to name a few.
The acceptance of divorce in American society as a ‘way out’ has impacted Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors alike and created staggering divorce rates amongst all branches. This reality has altered or in some instances removed the meaning of marriage all together. The Armed Forces must be willing to acknowledge this disparity and offer assistance to the ones who are willing to sacrifice so much.
For those willing to put forth the effort, there is a program that allows military couples to police themselves and essentially, start where they left off. Chaplain Phil Majcher is a Kentucky National Guard State Support Chaplain as well as the 1/623rd Fires Battalion chaplain. Together with Tami, his wife of twenty-two years, he recently conducted a Strong Bonds Marriage Enrichment Seminar in Covington, Kentucky on January 24-26, 2014, but with a different emphasis than their predecessors.
“The thing that impresses me the most is that the military acknowledges that the strength of family increases and supports the readiness of the Soldier,” said Majcher. “’Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage’ taught us some fundamental differences between men’s brains and women’s brains. Other programs, like PREP, taught us how to communicate without having our differences escalate out of control.”Tami echoed her husband’s sentiment. “The military believes so much in this that they are willing to invest in this program to support the family. That investment includes putting the couple up in a great hotel for the weekend, offer state of art training that includes time to practice what they are learning, providing meals for the participants and child care is offered to those couples with children.”
One enthusiast of Strong Bonds is State Command Sergeant Major Thomas Chumley, who was on hand to see some of the training. He expressed the importance of marriage, making reference to his wife of over thirty years.
“As a husband, I have found, with the support of my wife, our bond makes a world of difference for me to accomplish my mission,” said Chumley. “A relationship requires good communications to work. A good marriage takes thought and work and they don’t just happen overnight. Military life puts a lot of stress on marriages and this is the reason the Kentucky Guard leadership supports the Strong Bonds program.”
The seminar incorporates and offers advice that covers most of the problems that marriages experience during reintegration. The topics of personality conflicts, sexual misunderstandings, society misconceptions, forgiveness, and the differences between men and women’s brain configuration not only helps couples understand why things are not the same as they were prior to deployment but helps resolve some of the problems they have experienced in the past as well. The participating couples are provided with tools that provide them a chance to see how to succeed in life, what motivates them and how they are different from those they are close to.
The Majchers offered their own personal testimony and were available throughout the duration of the weekend to answer questions or provide guidance and assistance. The program is designed to remove the stressors of the normal environment and other distracting stimuli. Every step is taken to ensure exclusivity towards achieving the couple’s goals thus allowing them to reset their marriage, apologize for the past, and move forward as one autonomous unit.
“I literally heard a couple tell us at this event that they have talked more in the last couple hours than they have in the last year,” said Majcher. “During the training events, I have seen couples really get serious about their marriage.”
Majcher said that in every event one or both of the participants suddenly get an “ah ha!” moment where they understand why a particular thing happens in their marriage and how that can change it for the better.”
“Not to mention, a lot of the couples start dating again,” he said.
“You must really believe in this program to join up with your husband and present it to others. Some wives might think working with their husband is an obstacle,” said Tami. “I believe in marriage and I know it’s hard work. It takes two people. It just seems right to do this together. We look forward to doing these events together and expect to do more.”
Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Angela White knew at a young age she wanted to wear a uniform and serve her country. So one day when she saw a Marine Corps recruiter at her high school in Montana, she walked up and said she wanted to enlist. The recruiter told her no.
Twenty-five years later, White was sworn in as a major and the second female chaplain in the Kentucky National Guard during an appointment ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., Feb. 21.
It has been more than 25 years since a female has served as a chaplain in the Kentucky Guard. A fact White says contributes to the idea that things happen for a reason.
“I was called to join the military,” she said. “God has healed me in so many ways. God revealed to me my way, this is what I was meant to do. If you feel called by God, He will make a way for you. It’s the truth. And Kentucky is a fine place to be as a woman in the chaplaincy.”
White never understood why the Marines didn’t even give her a chance. She would later walk to a recruiting station and into the Air Force office. After several years of service as a bomber mechanic, then an Army nurse, the adventurous mother of two began her next chapter in uniform.
“I was off on an adventure when I wanted to be a Marine, and it was exciting to work on big aircraft, and I’ve always cared about people, so that was the nursing step. Now I’m off on an adventure with people I care about,” she said, trying to make sense of her own career steps. “The military life is a challenge, we all have an adventurous spirit, and God loves that.”
White said the path to becoming a chaplain was challenging, but credits her family’s support as her driving force, recalling the constant encouragement she received from them.
“My husband is my biggest fan. My daughter would put little notes in my bags when I left for training that said ‘Mommy, you’re going to do great!’ I keep one of those in my wallet today.”
White is married to Kentucky Air Guardsman, Lt. Col. Jamie White, a pilot with the 123rd Airlift Wing.
“We’re so proud of her,” said Jamie. “She has accomplished a lot, she’s always been on the edge in the military, never being afraid of a job, and she’s been preparing for this for the past twenty five years.”
The family of four now resides in Shelbyville, Ky., where White serves as liturgist, Sunday School Director, and also as a peer counselor at a local pregnancy resource center for single and low-income mothers.
She will serve as chaplain for the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion in Burlington, Ky. Chaplain (Maj.) Bill Draper, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade Chaplain said White is just who the Kentucky Guard needs to serve in such capacity.
“Chaplain Angie White’s prior experience as an active duty enlisted Airman, Soldier and officer will help her build solid relationships with Soldiers and staff members alike,” said Draper. “This will enable her to provide religious support that is both intentional and genuine.”
Lt. Col. Yong Cho, State Chaplain for the Kentucky Guard swore White in during the ceremony and said it was a good day for the Guard. Cho also spoke of White’s unique background and how it will help her in the future.
“All of the chaplains are happy for her and her family today, it has been a faithful road for her,” said Cho. “Chaplain White’s skills and military service will only enhance her ministry and she will bring diversity to the Chaplain Corps.”
White is glad that she has accomplished her newest challenge and doesn’t concern herself with the minority aspect of her position, just the way forward.
“I’m so excited today, it’s finally here, to start this journey, but there are a lot of great female chaplains out there, maybe it just wasn’t the right time here,” she said. “It may be nice to hear that I’m the first in a long time, but this is about being a chaplain, being part of a family and working with Soldiers.”
Story by John Trowbridge, Kentucky National Guard
Wrapping up Black History Month and leading into Women’s History Month, kentuckyguard.com presents this unique look at a woman who swore to fight for her nation and ended up combating social justice ….
FRANKFORT, Ky. — “It was raining that April morning as the train rolled into the station at Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. It was one of those day-long rains that slows the world down and gives you time to reflect. They had been waiting to meet the train that was bringing her back home. Home to her final resting place, this young woman who had, in the short span of 24 years, accomplished so much, not only for herself but for her race and her gender.” From the introduction to A Study in Military Leadership, 1997
Anna Mac Clarke was born June 20, 1919 in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Anna Mac, as she was called, was always known by her neighborhood friends as a “tomboy” who liked to play football and take care of animals, specifically cats and her pet chameleon. While growing up in her small town community, Clarke’s peers and elders knew that she was destined to do something great.
On May 28, 1937, less than one month before her 18th birthday, Clarke was awarded a diploma from Lawrenceburg High School, which at the time was referred to as the “Colored High School.” After graduating from high school, Anna Mac decided to pursue a college education. She considered many options, but in the end decided to attend Kentucky State College (now KSU), an historically black college located in Frankfort, Kentucky which is less than 15 miles from where she grew up in Lawrenceburg. While at Kentucky State, Clarke was a very active student, participating in sports, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the school’s newspaper, The Kentucky Thorobred. Clarke graduated from Kentucky State College in 1941, earning a Bachelor’s degree in both sociology and economics. However, Anna Mac had a hard time finding employment that was appropriate for her skills and was not extremely low paying.
In 1942, Anna Mac Clarke joined the All-Volunteer Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and left for Basic Training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. After she completed Basic Training, Clarke went on to Officer Candidate School.
On November 30, 1942, the Officer Candidate School at Fort Des Moines in Iowa –where Clarke was stationed—was desegregated. Within two weeks of the desegregation, Clarke became a candidate in the 15th Officer Class, WAAC OCS Program. There were two other African Americans in her class, but she would be the only one to finish the course eight weeks later on February 16, 1943. By the end of February, Clarke was reassigned to the Fourth Company, Third Regiment, as a Platoon Leader. Third Officer Anna Mac Clarke was the first African-American WAAC assigned to command what was otherwise an all-White unit.
With First Officer Sara E. Murphy, Clarke led a unit of 144 African-American WAACs to serve in Wakeman General Hospital at Camp Atterbury in Indiana. This assignment lasted for only a month, and in June 1943, Clarke worked in the Classification and Assignment Department of WAAC headquarters in Washington, D.C. She enrolled in the Adjutant General’s School at Camp Meade, Maryland, and after having completed the training she was assigned to Chicago’s WAAC recruiting program. Clarke was promoted to second officer on July 16, 1943, and she returned to Fort Des Moines. The Army transformed the auxiliary units of WAAC into the Regular Army, and Clarke became a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in September 1943.
Protesting enforced segregation
On February 7, 1944, Clarke led the first WAC unit onto the base at Douglas Army Air Field. Located in eastern Arizona, this Army Air Field was one of only four in the U.S. to have both African-American soldiers and WACs. The theater on the post was segregated, and Clarke had been warned by the African-American soldiers not to go there. However, Clarke and several women went to the theater, refusing to sit in the colored section. She protested the enforced segregation to the theater management, her immediate supervisor and then the Commanding Officer, Colonel Harvey E. Dyer. On February 21, 1944, Colonel Dyer issued the order to his officers “to educate properly all enlisted and civilian personnel in your respective departments to accept any colored WACs assigned as you would any white enlisted man or enlisted woman in the Army of the United States. Every consideration, respect, courtesy and toleration will be afforded every colored WAC. No discrimination will be condoned.”
In March 1944 Anna Mac was admitted to a hospital on the base with sharp pains in her side. Doctors diagnosed her with appendicitis, and decided that she needed an appendectomy to save her life. At first it was believed to be a successful surgery and Clarke was expected to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, gangrene had entered her body due to the infection brought on by the surgery.
1st Lt. Anna Mac Clarke died on April 19, 1944, at the age of 24.
One person can make a difference
Anna Mac Clarke was a pioneer, part of a unique group of women who came together for one purpose, to help their country win a world war. She and her sister WAACs would also fight another war at home; that of racism, and they, as one unified force, began to break down the barriers of her race and gender which would eventually lead to the civil rights movement of the late 1940s, up through the 1960s. Anna Mac would never know the full impact her efforts to right injustice would have on things that we take for granted today, not only in the military, but in the civilian world as well.
On July 26, 1946, a little over two years after her death, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981, which called for equal treatment and opportunity for blacks in the military. Four years later on March 1, 1950, the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity reported that beginning in April 1950 the Army’s quota system for blacks was out and that segregation was over in the military.
As for the WAC, in 1947 members of the WAC were permitted to opt for service in either the army or the newly separated air force. The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act gave women permanent military status in the regular army or reserves. Finally, in 1978, the WAC itself was disestablished and its members were assigned or could enroll in all branches of the army and air force.
Story by Maj. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The daughters of a Kentucky Air National Guardsman have put their artistic talents to use by helping showcase unit pride.
Master Sgt. Joey Youdell and his daughters, Olivia and Juliet, painted a ceiling tile depicting the heraldry of his unit, the Louisville-based 123rd Special Tactics Squadron.
The tile was then installed in the ceiling of The Winner’s Circle, a Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center here. It joins ceiling tiles from other subordinate units assigned to the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing.
“Our leadership wanted to create something that would represent the spirit of the Special Tactics Squadron, and I thought it would be a great project to do with my daughters,” said Youdell, a pararescueman who has deployed overseas multiple times.
Youdell’s daughters painted a base coat on the tile, which soaked up a lot of pigment due to its porous nature and multiple perforations, while Youdell worked on the main art.
“The girls did a great job filling in all the holes with paint,” he said. “It took a long time, but we had a lot of fun doing it.”
The unit’s heraldry features a Pegasus surrounded by a life buoy and suspended by a ram-air parachute.
“The parachute is significant to the unit as a primary means of worldwide deployment, indicating that all special tactics squadron operators are airborne qualified,” according to the Pentagon’s Institute of Heraldry.
“The Pegasus symbolizes genius and inspiration and also represents the unit’s amalgamation of the ground and air elements, which is key to the mission.”
The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron is comprised of pararescuemen like Youdell, combat controllers and special operations weathermen.
Pararescuemen are parachute-jump qualified trauma specialists who must maintain emergency medical technician-paramedic credentials throughout their careers. With this medical and rescue expertise, PJs are able to perform life-saving missions in the world’s most remote areas. A PJ’s primary function is personnel recovery specialist, providing emergency medical capabilities in humanitarian and combat environments. PJs deploy in any available manner, including air-land-sea tactics, into restricted environments to authenticate, extract, treat, stabilize and evacuate injured personnel.
Combat controllers are among the most highly trained personnel in the U.S. military. As FAA-certified air traffic controllers, they deploy undetected into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance.
Special operations weathermen are meteorologists with advanced tactical training to operate in hostile or denied territory. They gather and interpret weather data and provide intelligence from deployed locations while working primarily with Air Force and Army Special Operations Forces.
The unit’s slogan, “Ingenium Superat Vires,” means “Genius Overcomes Strength.”
Story by: Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky Guardsman Sgt. Dallas Robinson, from Georgetown, Ky., represented the U.S. Olympic men’s bobsled team this year in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games that took place in Sochi, Russia.
“I’m extremely proud of Sgt. Robinson and his accomplishments over the last two weeks,” said Col. Mike Abell, Brigade Commander for the 75th Troop Command. “The Olympics are rooted in military tradition and training, so it’s fitting that a Soldier – a Guardsman – helped to represent our nation.”
While Robinson didn’t medal this year in the Olympics, he was there at every event to cheer on his fellow teammates. Robinson was one of the first to congratulate 4-man team, Steven Holcomb, Steven Langton, Curtis Tomasevicz and Christopher Fogt on their Bronze place finish. (Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton also won a Bronze Medal in the 2-man Bobsled event this year).
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was also very impressed with Robinson’s success.
“Kentuckians shine on a national and international stage regularly, and for this Guardsman to represent us internationally at the Olympics is quite extraordinary,” said Beshear. “I congratulate Dallas on a job well done and know this is only the beginning for this fine young man.”
Robinson is a member of the 2123rd Transportation Company, based out of Richmond, Ky. and has been a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program for the last several years in preparation for this opportunity in Sochi.
Originally an Eastern Kentucky University track-star training for the Olympics, Robinson found his way into bobsledding by accident.
After an injury derailed his chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Robinson was then recruited by the USA Rugby team. After a shoulder injury ended that opportunity, he entered into the world of coaching track at Berea College.
One of the athletes that Robinson coached started competing in bobsledding and ended up inviting Robinson to come out and assist him. This is where Robinson’s bobsledding career began.
His first award was in 2011 when he won silver in the four-man race at the World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y. From there, he’s placed in the World Cup 4 additional times and twice in the World Championships in Switzerland. Robinson knows the significance of his participation in the Winter Olympics.
In an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, Robinson was quoted as saying, “I think about the positive relationship I have built with the Russian people and how much that could mean for future athletes in our sport. When I think about the legacy I want to leave the state of Kentucky and my family, I want that legacy to be one of pursuing your dreams, living life chasing God and loving like there is no tomorrow.”
See links for two great articles on Sgt. Robinson.
Story courtesy WLEX 18
LEXINGTON, Ky. — He served our country in World War II and his service didn’t end there.
On Friday, Troy Bowling received a big honor for at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Governor Steve Beshear, Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini and members of the Kentucky National Guard leadership were on hand at the VA Center Friday to honor him.
He’s volunteered more than 73,000 hours to the VA Center. Bowling joined the Marines at age 17. And at 19, he was shot during Iwo Jima. He was left for dead and listed as killed in action until he raised his hand to let medics know he was still alive.
“I don’t consider myself a hero because I came back. The only ones I consider a hero are those who were left behind. That was most of my unit,” he said.
“We must never forget the sacrifices that our veterans, such as Mr. Bowling, have made to defend our country and protect our freedoms, ” said Kentucky National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Chumley. “His sense of duty and dedication is amazing and the humble way in which he continues to serve our nation’s veterans is awe inspiring. He represents the best of what our military service members have to offer. We can all learn a great lesson from this great Kentuckian.”
Bowling has received a number of honors including the Purple Heart and the Lifetime Service Achievement Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.