Story and photos by Sgt. Paul Evans, KY ADT 4 Unit Public Affairs and Historian Representative


Sgt. Bobby Sizemore of Lawrenceburg, Ky. (right) hangs out with Sgt. 1st Class Greg Dunning of Almo, Ky. before a mission in southern Afghanistan on March 26, 2012. The two Soldiers are members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, which works to provide agriculture and business education to farmers in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — “I appreciate all the families back home that have supported us on this mission, because I know that a lot of them have endured a lot,” said Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team 4’s Sgt. Bobby Sizemore, a 33-year-old Richmond, Ky. native now residing in Lawrenceburg.

Sizemore, who has served with the Kentucky National Guard since 2008, is currently deployed to southern Afghanistan as part of ADT 4’s Security Team.

“My family’s been wonderful. My wife, she’s been the soul reason I’ve done as well as I have,” Sizemore said. “She kept everything together back home.”

“I’m able to contribute to the cause, so I just felt that it’d be a good opportunity,” he said of the deployment. “Ultimately, we’re all here for the better good, to serve our country, and protect those that we love.”

In Kentucky, Sizemore works as a crew chief and full-time Blackhawk helicopter repairman for C Co., 1st Battalion, 376th Security and Support Aviation Element, 63rd Aviation Brigade in Frankfort, Ky.

“Sgt. Sizemore is very detail oriented,” observed ADT 4 Commander and former 63rd Aviation Brigade Commander, Col. Tommy Barrier of Versailles, Ky. “He likes to be a perfectionist–he’s that way when he works on aircraft in our hangar.”


Sgt. Bobby Sizemore of Lawrenceburg, Ky. climbs into the back of a truck while on mission in southern Afghanistan on April 2, 2012. Sizemore is a member of the Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team 4’s Security Platoon. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

“I specifically recruited Sgt. Sizemore about five years ago when I was the Aviation Brigade Commander,” Barrier added.  “He came to me and said ‘hey, I want to find out more about the National Guard.’ He wants to know all of the facts and everything up front, which is a good indication of someone that’s going to be a good Soldier.”

“It was probably about 11 months from the time that he first came and saw me till he actually got into the military. From that point on, he goes ‘I wished I had joined the first day I met you.’ But he came to me once this mission was on and said ‘hey, I want to go with you.’ We went through the proper chains with his commander,” Barrier explained. “I knew the quality of work that he did.”

“He has a great work ethic,” Barrier said. “He’s a professional Soldier. He displays a lot of honor and integrity, and is one of those Soldiers that you look for to be future senior leaders within the organization because of the character and the integrity that he possesses.”


Sgt. Bobby Sizemore of Lawrenceburg, Ky. (middle row, center) poses with fellow deployed 63rd Aviation Brigade Soldiers in southern Afghanistan on April 8, 2012. The Soldiers are members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, which works to provide agriculture and business education to farmers in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province. Also pictured are: Spc. Samuel Woodson (front, kneeling) of Frankfort, Ky.; (front row standing from left) Chief Warrant Officer Scott Goode and Col. Tommy Barrier of Versailles, Ky.; Maj. Ben Singleton of Lakeside Park, Ky.; Chief Warrant Officer Scott McCauley of Versailles, Ky.; (top row from left) Sgt. Amanda Behling and Spc. Emily Baldwin of Louisville, Ky.; and 1st Lt. Craig Moline of Lexington, Ky. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

“Not ever being on a deployment before and knowing that we’re in one of the top five most dangerous places in the world, as crazy as that may sound, this deployment’s been very easy,” Sizemore said. “It hasn’t been mentally exhausting, it hasn’t been anything like what people have told me before you leave to go on a deployment. I found it very easy, and that’s what shocked me the most.”

“The mission has been basically just flawless,” Sizemore said. “To be where we’re, everything’s gone very, very smoothly.”

During his deployment Sizemore has developed an appreciation for the culture of Afghanistan.  “One thing that was very interesting that caught my attention was their architecture.  I think it’s awesome. Their mosques and buildings and things, the kind of attention to detail and work that they put into building the structures…they have my utmost respect for that.”

“From what I’ve seen, some of the architecture and their skill, the way they work…it’s rather inspiring to see somebody that puts that much effort and work into something, especially when they don’t have the modern tools like we do,” he added.

“Overall, I think we’re making a difference,” Sizemore said, turning his attention back to his mission.

“The people that have had exposure, I think that they appreciate us and they know that we’re here to help.”

Story and photos by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office


A Soldier with Charlie Co., 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation works to repair a OH-58 helicopter at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 18, 2012. The Kentucky Guard has become the maintenance hub for OH-58 repairs for all of the National Guard. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — It is often thought that a warrant officer in an Army Aviation unit is only a pilot.  That is certainly not always the case.  The aviation field also demands that experts are on hand as maintenance technicians to ensure that those pilots have a working aircraft to fly.

In the Kentucky National Guard some aviation warrant officers are not only keeping Kentucky Guardsmen in the air, but they’re also working to keep pilots in quality aircraft nationwide.

Chief Warrant Officer Three Jay Calcaterra, an aircraft maintenance supervisor for the 351st Aviation Support Battalion works daily at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort, Ky.  He confirmed that not everyone in the hangar is a pilot, calling himself and other maintenance supervisors, “the walking warrants.”

“We determine which aircraft fly, how long they fly and what maintenance is required after they fly it,” he said.

Calcaterra said they have an extremely important job in the hangar, and that is to manage aircraft and the people who work on aircraft.


Spc. Tim Amyx with Charlie Co., 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation, works on a OH-58 helicopter at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 18, 2012. Because of the increase in maintenance requests, some Soldiers were brought on full time to help handle the workload. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The Kentucky Guard’s fleet of UH-60 Blackhawks and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, and their operational readiness is the responsibility of Calcaterra and Chief Warrant Officer Two Ryan Thompson.

They said it takes a seasoned expert to meet the demands of what they are asked to do, but in referring to their warrant officer training, they rely on their abilities and the proficiencies of their staff to provide that expertise and keep Kentucky aircraft in the skies.

In 2011, the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., was looking for a solution for the maintenance of all OH-58s flown by the Guard.  They needed a hub where the aircraft could be properly and efficiently maintained to keep them flying.  NGB looked to a state with a solid history of excellence in aviation.

“It’s because of our reputation, our work ethic and our operational readiness rates that we were asked to do this,” said Thompson.  “Everyone knows we are always willing to step up and support the mission of NGB.”

With the amount of flight hours being put on a diminishing fleet of OH-58s nationally, NGB asked Kentucky to become the center though which all maintenance issues would stream.  Kentucky’s Army Aviation originally only had four OH-58s of their own, but now they were asked to care for a lot more.  Regardless of their home assignment, helicopters with any issue would be flown or transported to Frankfort to go through Thompson’s “phase”.

Thompson said the facility would normally put six helicopters through maintenance phases each year.  Since February 2012, they have received, tested, worked on, and put back into service 23 OH-58s, across the country.  That’s nearly a 400 percent increase and the year isn’t over yet.

He said Kentucky has worked with 16 different states in repairing their helicopters, transferring the aircraft back and forth to as far away as Arizona and Hawaii.

A phase begins with a test flight, if possible, to determine the faults or discrepancies, anything from broken radios to weak engines.  The aircraft would then be disassembled from the nose to the tail and those problem areas would be fixed and required inspections completed.  Upon its reassembly, the helicopter would be released for test flights to assure the problems were resolved, resulting in an “almost new” aircraft.

“I would never send out something that I wouldn’t give my own Soldiers,” said Thompson.

According to Thompson, the Kentucky Guard flies more hours in OH-58s than any other state.  Thousands of hours of flight-time are given annually to support the state’s counter-drug program and in-state unit training missions.


Soldiers at the Army Aviation Support Facility prepare for a test flight in a OH-58 helicopter in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 24, 2012. The Kentucky Guard provides maintenance support to all OH-58s in the National Guard. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

In addition to operations in the Commonwealth, OH-58s repaired by the Kentucky Guard are transferred to the U.S. State Department as well as flown in support of the Southwest border mission, Operation Guardian Eye.

Calcaterra, Thompson and the Soldiers in the hangars in Frankfort manage the maintenance of 75 percent of all OH-58s flying in the National Guard.  Thompson said it’s a fine example of the Kentucky Guard preparing for and meeting the needs of the Guard as a whole.

Thompson believes the mission will last as long as OH-58s are flying for the Guard.  In the meantime, Kentucky will remain nationally, a proven maintenance hub as well as an OH-58 parts hub.

The increased workload has benefitted some Soldiers with full-time work, which the warrants said creates an invaluable amount of experience for young aircraft mechanics.   Thompson estimates that his Soldiers are getting as much hands-on training in two-weeks as some traditional Guardsmen serving on weekends would get in 15 years.  In addition to the new airframes coming through, the experience for these Soldiers is the biggest gain of this mission said Thompson.

The warrants both said they couldn’t have done it without the support of Kentucky National Guard leadership.  Thompson said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky’s Adjutant General and Col. Michael Ferguson, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade Commander, agreed to take on the mission and have consistently backed the mechanics’ efforts while promoting the quality work done by Kentucky Guardsmen.

“We take pride in what we do here,” Thompson said. “We have the experience and know-how to pull this off.”

“It’s a lot of work, a lot of hours, but we don’t have a reduction in our capabilities. This has been a whirlwind success.”

Story and photos by Sgt. Alexa E. Becerra, 2/138th Public Affairs 

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Sgt. Stephanie Murley, supply sergeant for 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, stands in front of her office door at Camp Atterbury, Ind., Sept. 16, 2012. Murley prepared for her third deployment overseas as Task Force Longrifles prepared to deploy to the Horn of Africa. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Alexa Becerra)

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind.  – What images come to mind when you think of a combat veteran of two different wars? Perhaps a tall, muscular GI Joe, with a high and tight? Or do you conjure up a picture of a young Soldier at the airport, tears falling softly down his cheek as he is hugging his wife for the first time in a year, after a long combat tour?

It’s probably unlikely that the image of a young, 5-foot, 7-inch tall woman, with bright-blue smiling eyes popped into your mind.

Unless, of course, you know Sgt. Stephanie L. Murley.

Murley is a supply sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery. She is also about to become a veteran for the third time. At 24-years-old, she has completed one tour in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and now is preparing for her third deployment — this time to the Horn of Africa.

In Iraq,  she worked as a supply clerk for B Battery, 2/138th. Even though it was her first deployment, she wasn’t scared.

“I started out working nights when I was in Iraq, then I shifted to days. I picked up a lot of supplies, dropped off reports and assisted in inventories,” said Murley.

“Life was pretty routine there, you had to find entertainment in the small things that most of us overlook,” she said.  “I remember the first time it rained, we had no idea what was going on. All the females got up and went outside and got very excited.”

In Afghanistan with Agribusiness Development Team 1, her job changed a bit. She dealt with weapons, ammunition, and a bit of supply.

“If a weapon went down, I’d fill out the paperwork to take it to the armor and get it fixed. I also assisted in sensitive item inventories and ordering supplies for the Security Forces,” said Murley.

Afghanistan was a bit different experience when it came to feeling safe though.

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Sgt. Stephanie Murley poses for the camera in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2010 while serving on her second tour of duty overseas. She serves as a supply sergeant for Task Force Longrifles who are scheduled to deploy to the Horn of Africa in October. (Courtesy photo)

“Unlike Iraq, in Afghanistan we would get mortared almost every night,” said Murley, as she dropped her face and looked to the ground. “There were a few nights that I would pray to God and say, ‘please let me wake up in the morning.’”

Murley joined the Kentucky National Guard in 2006, at the age of 17. She joined because her grandfather, an Army veteran himself whom she greatly admired, had been in the military. His nobility and humility as a former Army man inspired her.

“It’s empowering to know I can do anything these guys can do,” she said.

Murley is not your typical one weekend a month and two-week summer training National Guardsmen, or woman if you will. She wears the uniform year-round. When she is not at her unit, she works full-time as a supply technician for the Kentucky Guard’s Central Issue Facility in Frankfort, Ky.

Along with being a Soldier and a technician for the Kentucky Guard, she is also the wife of Sgt. David Murley who is with Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery and is scheduled to deploy overseas in January. They got married in May of 2011, shortly after their return from Afghanistan.

“I’m going to miss my husband a lot,” said Murley, who stopped smiling. “This will be the longest we’ve been apart since we started dating.”

But Murley remains positive about this upcoming deployment, although she says she doesn’t know what to expect, because it will be very different than her tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The job is stressful, don’t get me wrong. But the sense of accomplishment when it’s all said and done makes all the sacrifices worth it.” said Murley, that smile appearing once more. “I’m honored to be a female veteran.”

Story by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

7-27-2012 UAW Job Fair

Kentucky Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) assists with job fairs throughout the Commonwealth, getting the word out to those looking for employment. This job fair at the United Auto Workers Hall in Louisville, Ky., was sponsored by U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth. (Photo by Charmaine Miller)

FRANKFORT, Ky.— Anyone who has ever been job hunting knows that there are numerous obstacles to overcome when trying to secure that perfect position.  Finding a company that is accepting applications, meeting the qualification and education expectations, having a well-rounded resume, preparing for an interview, and inquiring about career advancements in the field.

For Kentucky National Guardsmen, there can also be the added dilemma of seeking out an employer who understands the military commitment required of them.  In all these cases, the Kentucky National Guard Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is there to assist service members and their families.

“ESGR is an agency that can make the Soldier’s return easier in terms of returning to employment,” said Harry T. Wiley, State Public Affairs Officer for Kentucky’s ESGR program.  “We work with employers and with military reservists in Kentucky to find better jobs for service members who are underemployed and who need employment.”

ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that works to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers.  Programs are important because they help to maintain and provide stability for all.

ESGR job fair 20120724-030

Job fair, Hire Our Heroes, sponsored by the KY Office of Employment and Training, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, KY Dept. of Labor Vets and KY Chamber of Commerce. The event held in Florence, Ky., July 24, saw over 150 job-seekers connect with local employers. (Photo courtesy of National College)

“Our goal with the Employment Initiative Program (EIP),” said retired Kentucky Army National Guard Col. Phil Miller, Program Support Specialist for Kentucky ESGR, “is to help service members and their spouses to stabilize, through gainful employment, the guard and reserve as a community-based defense force in each state.”

ESGR is improving by hosting functions such as Job fairs and Employment Assistance Workshops (EAW) where attendees can work on resume writing, interview skills, job searches, networking, and effective communication techniques.

“We’ve had a number of people hired on the spot at these job fairs,” said Miller.  “That’s the biggest thing is to match the expectations of the service members with the expectations of the employers.”

Currently there are between 50 and 60 companies working with ESGR in job fairs to connect Soldiers and Airmen with employment opportunities.  After the job fairs in Lexington and Louisville, Miller said that they were tracking an 80% success rate at the 90-day mark of having military personnel employed.

Employers can be recognized by the employee or employee family member for their support of military employees.  Awards include Patriotic Award, Above and Beyond, Pro-Patria, and the Freedom Award.

ESGR Ombudsman service program works with employers and service members as a liaison to provide information about employee rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) laws in instances where service related issues arise.

“We can serve as an independent third party who can help both the Soldier and the employer know more about their respective responsibilities,” said Wiley.  “ESGR helps negotiate settlements between parties which helps avoid conflict.”

For more information about resume and interview tips, go to: or

Story and photos by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office


Chaplain Brent Kelly, Kentucky National Guard Yellow Ribbon Program Manager, passes out care packages to Families of Soldiers deploying with the 2nd Battalion, 138th Fires Brigade to the Horn of Africa at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012. The boxes contained teddy bears and books that could record the Service member’s voice as they read and be played back at any time. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bolton)

FRANKFORT, Ky.— As Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery prepared to serve their country abroad, the Guard’s Yellow Ribbon program prepared to serve the Families of these service members at home.

More than 500 care packages with special gifts for the Families of the deploying Soldiers were presented to children, spouses, aunts, uncles and grandparents prior to the farewell ceremony for the 2/138th Aug. 31, 2012 at the Frankfort Convention Center.

“The boxes have a teddy bear with a recordable book in it so that the Soldier can read it and record their voice so that the child can have that while they’re gone,” said Linda Jones, Child & Youth Programs Coordinator.  “There is also a memory box that the kids can decorate and put things in that their parents send to them or something that is important to them.”

The boxes provided a way for the children and Families to stay connected and maintain ties with loved ones throughout the duration of the deployment.

“The bags have all sorts of goodies so the kids wind up having a really good connection with their parents who are deploying and spouses wind up feeling supported,” said Chaplain Brent Kelly, Yellow Ribbon Program Manager.


Workers with the Kentucky National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program pass out care packages to families of Soldiers deploying to the Horn of Africa at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bolton)

Supplying care packages isn’t the only thing that the Kentucky Guard Yellow Ribbon Program does however.  They also provide National Guard and Reserve Members and their Families with information, services, referral and proactive outreach opportunities throughout the entire deployment cycle.

“Anytime a spouse has any kind of problem, if a child is having trouble in school, if they can’t pay their electric bill, maybe they’re stressed, anything you can think of, they can call and get help from somebody,” said Jones.  “We want the spouses to think of Family Programs as their extended family, we’re there for them when their spouse is gone.”

This isn’t the only type of event that the Yellow Ribbon Program has provided to the Service members of the Kentucky Guard.

“We support Operation Military Cheer, Summer camps; we have a whole host of other events throughout the year to support Kentucky Guard Families,” said Kelly.  “We understand what the Soldiers are going through and we are happy to support them and their Family because we in the Kentucky Guard are a Family.”

For those interested in finding out more about the Kentucky National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program, you can contact Ms. Kim Coyle at 1-502-607-1177

or visit for more information.

Story and photos by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office


Sports broadcaster, Larry Glover speaks during a press conference at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012. The event announced the first 12 high school football players to represent Kentucky in the 2013 National Guard Border Bowl. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky high school football fans received a unique early look at the 2013 Border Bowl during a press conference hosted by the Kentucky National Guard at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012.

For the first time, a select group of players were announced to the “Be The Elite” Team Gridiron, months prior to the playing of the interstate all-star game that is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2013.

To see more photos from the “Be The Elite” Team Gridiron press conference, click here.


Brig. Gen. Michael Dornbush, Kentucky National Guard Chief of Joint Staff (left) and Maj. Gen. Lonnie Culver, Deputy Adjutant General, congratulate players on their selection to the 2013 National Guard Border Bowl during a press conference in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012. The players were among the first to be chosen for the sixth annual all-star game to be played in January 2013. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The Border Bowl, in its sixth year, is sponsored by the National Guard and pits some of Kentucky’s best high school football players against the best from state neighbor and rival Tennessee.

Officials from the Kentucky National Guard worked with state high schools to coordinate the countdown to the Border Bowl with the Kentucky Guard’s new “Be The Elite” campaign.  The goal was to tie in the star football players selected with the recruiting push to find the best and brightest to wear the uniform of the Kentucky National Guard.

The “Be The Elite” program was set up to qualify only the strongest on candidates that represent Kentucky’s finest and runs through September.

“Today was a significant step to make the Border Bowl a year round event,” said Freddie Maggard, Kentucky National Guard Community Outreach Coordinator.  “The professionalism displayed sends a distinct message that the National Guard Border Bowl is a first class operation and I’m very proud of all those involved.”

Local sports broadcaster and radio show host Larry Glover was the guest speaker. He spoke of the tradition of the Border Bowl and the continued rivalry between the two states, calling it an amazing opportunity for young players to be apart of something bigger than themselves.

Twelve players were selected to the team, including four on hand for the event.  Clay County High School senior, Jacob Hyde was in awe of the press conference, and the excitement built by the media in attendance and the location in a helicopter hangar on the National Guard base.


Clay Co. High School senior, Jacob Hyde is interviewed by media from the pilot’s seat of UH-60 Blackhawk during a press conference in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 5, 2012. The Kentucky National Guard sponsored the event to tie in the high school football all star Border Bowl and the “Be The Elite” recruiting campaign. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“I never expected to experience something like this,” he said.

Hyde even had the chance to sit in the pilot’s seat of a UH-60 Blackhawk, which he said he could barely fit into to. The aircraft’s cockpit wasn’t designed or the 6-foot, 2-inch, 313-pound frame of the defensive tackle.

Hyde simply looks forward to finishing his season strong at Clay Co., and enjoying his moment in the Border Bowl.  Hyde has committed to wear blue next year, playing football at Commonwealth Stadium.

“It’s really a great honor to represent Kentucky and the University of Kentucky,” he said.

Staff report, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Love music?  Interested in the military?  Looking for a way to turn your passion into progress?  Then do we have a story for you!

The Kentucky National Guard’s 202nd Army Band is currently looking for musicians to join up and be part of a great professional organization with plenty of opportunity and a way to channel your musical passion.  Positions include trombone, euphonium, French horn and keyboard.

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The 202nd Army Band performs during the Great American Brass Band Festival In Danville, Ky., June 9, 2012. (photo by Sgt. KJ McAleesejergins, Kentucky National Guard)

“The experience of being a member of the 202nd Army Band is unique,” said Chief Warrant Officer Greg Stepp.  “This is one of the most professional and interesting military units out there, especially for those of us who are musically inclined.”

He should know; he’s not only the commander for the 202nd, but he also conducts them during practices and performances.  The 202nd has a long history of excellence, having just celebrated its 65th anniversary with a concert at Kentucky State University.  The band also plays at military balls, community events across the Commonwealth, and the inauguration ceremony for the governor every four years.

And they don’t just specialize in military music, either.  You name it, they play it.

“We play a lot of martial style music for military ceremonies and public events, but we also cover the spectrum, from classical to Dixieland,” said Stepp.  “Our jazz band and rock band can play with the best of them.”

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The Kentucky National Guard’s 202nd Army Band recently celebrated its 65th year of service. It is currently recruiting for new members to play trombone, euphonium, French horn and keyboard. (Photo courtesy of 202nd Army Band)

Being a member of the 202nd isn’t just knowing three quarter time and guitar riffs.  There’s also the small matter of being a combat qualified Soldier and going through all the training that requires.

“Our band members go through the same training as all Kentucky National Guard and U.S. Army Soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Angela Wilkins, readiness sergeant for the unit.  “We hit the range and train in tactics and survival skills along with our artillery and infantry counterparts.  There is no such thing as a boring day in the 202nd Army Band.”

“This is a great opportunity for someone to serve his or her country, get world class training and have college costs covered,” Wilkins added.


The 202nd Band prepares to play during a Change of Command ceremony at Fort Eustis, Va., July 20, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steve Baker)

For additional information about the 202nd Army Band please contact Sgt. 1st Class Angela Wilkins, 502-607-5331 or email her at

Story and photo by 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. Steven Bullard

Col. Steven Bullard was named the new chief of joint staff of the Kentucky National Guard by Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo by 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Col. Steven P. Bullard has been selected as the next chief of staff at Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, the adjutant general announced Aug. 23. Bullard, who currently serves as vice wing commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, is expected to assume the post in December, following the retirement of Brig. Gen. Michael J. Dornbush.

“Colonel Bullard excelled as vice commander and 123rd Mission Support Group commander for the 123d Airlift Wing,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini in making the announcement.

“He also served successfully in several mobilization assignments, including NATO senior airfield authority and 451st Air Expeditionary Group Commander at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan; deputy director, Air Component Coordination Element, and USAF liaison with Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan and the government of Afghanistan.”

“Colonel Bullard’s success is a direct reflection of the level of professionalism and the deep talent base representative of the 1,200 Airmen in our nation’s finest Air National Guard wing.”

Upon accepting the position, Bullard will be eligible for promotion to the rank of brigadier general as a traditional Guardsman. He will maintain his civilian job as director of the Administrative Services Division in the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs.

The division is responsible for personnel administration and functions, procurement actions, accounting and fiscal functions, maintenance and storage of “War Records Bureau” documents and records, legislative activities, and state grant funding to the Civil Air Patrol.

Throughout his Air Force career, Bullard has served in numerous leadership roles, both at home and abroad. In addition to his duties in Afghanistan, the colonel served as chief of operations for the Joint Intelligence and Operations Center at Headquarters, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., from August 2008 through January 2009.

At home, Bullard served as director of joint doctrine and training, Joint Forces Headquarters, Kentucky National Guard, from April 2005 to July 2008.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he deployed as operations officer, then commander, of the 10-aircraft, 306-personnel joint Guard-Reserve 38th Airlift Squadron (Provisional) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from March to October 2003.

Bullard has participated in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, Provide Promise, Restore Hope, Joint Endeavor, Joint Forge, Southern Watch, Bright Star, Coronet Oak, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He also has participated in numerous Special Operations low-level deployments and served as lead instructor during Red Flag and Green Flag exercises.

Bullard served two terms as elected president of the National Guard Association of Kentucky and was the volunteer executive director of the Kentucky Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve from 1993 to 2001.

The following is a compilation of significant dates in our commonwealth’s military history.  For more on the legacy of our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, visit the Kentucky National Guard eMuseum.

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.

September, 1793 – Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne calls for mounted volunteers from Kentucky; but, having lost confidence in the regular troops in Harmar’s and St. Clair’s defeats, Kentuckians refuse to volunteer.

September 1, 1864 – Battle of Jonesboro, Ga. part of Atlanta Campaign. Kentucky Orphan Brigade attempts to hold strategic railroad position south of the city. However are not reinforced when attacked in force and are cut off from main Confederate position, suffer heavy casualties. The loss of rail line cuts off any hope of resupply for the Confederates in Atlanta and the city is evacuated. Union Army enters Atlanta the next day. (Civil War)

September 1, 1863 – John Boyle appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Thomas E. Bramlette.

September 1, 1891 – First appointment of Andrew Jackson Gross as Adjutant General of Kentucky by  Gov. John Y. Brown.

September 1, 1952 – Largest All-Navy Raid (Korean War)

September 1, 2010 – Beginning of Operation New Dawn, end of U.S. Military’s combat role in Iraq.

September 2, 1914 – James Tandy Ellis appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Augustus O. Stanley.  Ellis would be re-appointed as the Adjutant General by Gov. James B. Black.

September 2, 1945– VJ (Victory Japan) Day: Japan signed formal surrender (World War II)

September 2, 2007 – Staff Sgt. Delmar White, Lexington (Fayette County), was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on a convoy escort mission in Baghdad, Iraq.  White, 37, was assigned to Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 138thField Artillery, based in Carlisle, Ky.  White was a corrections officer with Lexington Fayette Urban County Government and deployed with his unit in August 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He joined the Kentucky Army National Guard in 1998. (Global War on Terror)

Staff Sgt. Delmar White

September 4, 1864 – Gen. John Hunt Morgan shot and killed by Union officers at Greenville, Tennessee (Civil War)

September 4, 1875 – John Montgomery Wright is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. James B. McCreary.

 September 5, 1871 – James Allen Dawson is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Preston H. Leslie.

September 5, 1883 –  John Breckinridge Castleman is appointed acting Adjutant General of Kentucky from 1883 – 1887, by Gov. J. Proctor Knott.

September 6, 1845 – Gov. Owsley is notified by the secretary of war, that Gen. Zachary Taylor is authorized to call upon Kentucky for troops to repel the apprehended Mexican invasion. Gov. Owsley replies that any requisition upon Kentucky will be promptly and gallantly responded to.

Siege of Boonesborough

Siege of Boonesborough, 1778.  Courtesy of Fort Boonesborough museum.

September 7, 1778 – Siege of Boonesborough by Captain de Quindre and a large force of Indians and Canadians. Siege ended 20 September (American Revolutionary War)

September 7, 1944 – 2nd Lt. Harry Ricker LaFon, Jr., and Pvt. Hugh J. Leonard, both serving with Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died aboard the Japanese “Hell Ship” Shinyo Maru when it was sunk (World War II)

September 8, 1898 – Wilbur Rush Smith is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. William O. Bradley.

September 9, 1943 – Operation Avalanche (Allied landing at Salerno, Italy) (World War II)

September 10, 1962 – U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Incorporated.

September 10, 1845– Gen. Peter Dudley, sent by Gov. Owsley to Clay County. Two companies of troops from Madison County, under command of Col. John Miller ordered out to maintain law and order, remain until after the execution of Dr. Baker.

Pfc. Sammie E. Phillips

September 10, 2007 – Pfc. Sammie E. Phillips of Vine Grove (Hardin County), was killed when his vehicle overturned while conducting a traffic control mission on a highway near Rustamiyah, Iraq.  Phillips, 19, was assigned to Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, based in Carlisle, Ky. Phillips joined the Kentucky Army National Guard in 2006 and deployed with his unit in August 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He was a 2006 graduate of North Hardin High School. (Global War on Terrorism)

September 11 – Patriot Day: World Trade Center and Pentagon Terrorist Attacks

September 11, 1895 – Two cannon crews of Battery A, 1st Regiment of the Kentucky State Guard, known as the Louisville Legion were dispatched from the downtown Louisville armory to Phoenix Hill Park to fire a 44-gun salute at sunrise to awaken the city as a part of the festivities for the 29th Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Each cannon was to fire 22 times. When the second caisson, which was 15 minutes behind the first, reached 4th and Broadway at 5:30 a.m. an explosion occurred. Forty-four bags of carefully packed black powder; each weighing 1.5 lbs., mysteriously ignited. The result was five men and two horses killed several people injured and property damage to buildings in the area. Those killed were Corp. Arthur Langan Robinson, Pvt. Charles Brechner (Biechner), Pvt. Charles C. Woods, Pvt. Archibald McBride, and a civilian, Mr. William Adams Sr. Mr. Adams had been hired by the officers of the Louisville Legion to drive the caisson to Phoenix Hill.

September 11, 1967 – Siege of Con Thien began (Vietnam War)

September 12, 1859  Scott Brown is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Beriah Magoffin.

September 13, 1951 – Battle of Heartbreak Ridge began (Korean War)

September 13, 1956 – The Kentucky Air National Guard receives its first F-86 Sabrejets at Standiford Field. The full complement of 25 Sabres was expected by October 15, with three T-33s and eight T-28 trainers.

September 14, 1781 – Long Run Massacre. As Indian activity increased the settlers at Boone’s Station sought protection at Linn’s Station. While enroute to that location they were attacked along the banks of Long Run Creek, about 60 people were killed.

September 14, 1814 – “Star Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key (War of 1812)

Francis Scott Key

September 14, 1966 – Operation Attleboro began (Vietnam War)

September 14, 1971 – Capt. Roger M. Sanders died when his RF-101 “Voodoo” crashed shortly after takeoff.  He was able to eject, but did not survive his injuries from the incident. Sanders was taking off simultaneously with another aircraft for a night refueling exercise. The other aircraft landed safely in Indiana.

September 14, 2002 – Marion National Guard Armory named in honor of 1st Sgt. Carson G. Davidson.

September 15, 1950 – Inchon Landing (Korean War)

2LT Vincent Simon

2nd Lt. Vincent Simon

September 15, 1984 – 2nd Lt. Vincent Simon, age 30, of Glasgow (Barren County), died at Fort Knox, Kentucky in the line of duty while on inactive duty for training (IDT). He was a member of Battery C, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery based in Monticello. He died from injuries he received when the military vehicle, a M-151 ¼ ton “Jeep” he was operating was involved in an accident. He was a graduate of Western Kentucky University and was a Civil Engineer in his civilian life with J. N. Gray Construction Company in Glasgow. He joined the US Army in 1972 after high school and rose to the rank of Specialist 5 before leaving the Army and joining the Kentucky Army National Guard in December 1975. He rose to the rank of Staff Sgt. He was a graduate of the Boone Raiders course in 1983 and the Kentucky Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. on July 8,1984, just a few weeks before his death.

September 16, 1847 – Kentucky soldiers who fell at the Battle of Buena Vista, Mexico, from Shelby, Montgomery, and Franklin counties, interred with full military honors in the state cemetery.

September 16, 1950 – Naktong Perimeter Breakout began (Korean War)

September 17, 1787 – Citizenship (Constitution) Day: U.S. Constitution approved.

September 17, 1862 – Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland (Civil War)

September 17, 1914 – Ladies Auxiliary VFW organized.

September 17, 1944 – Operation Market Garden (World War II)

September 18-20, 1863 – Battle of Chickamaugua, Georgia (Civil War)

Chaplain Lt. Col. William Hisle

September 18, 1947 – U.S. Air Force established.

September 18, 1950 – Inchon Operation and Liberation of Seoul began (Korean War)

September 18, 1994 – Operation Uphold Democracy.

September 19 – POW/MIA Recognition Day.

September 19, 1817 – Oliver Garnett Waggoner/Waggener is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Gabriel Slaughter.  He was re-appointed to the position under governors John Adair, and Joseph Desha.

September 19, 1971– Kentucky Air National Guard Chaplain Lt. Col. William Hisle died after a long illness. His work with Korean War orphans had been carried on despite his declining health and Lt. Col. Hisle was presented the first Legion of Merit received by a member of the Kentucky Air Guard.

Staff Sgt. William Alvin Allers III

September 20, 2005– Staff Sgt. William Alvin Allers III, 28, of Leitchfield (Grayson County) Ky., was killed near Al Khalis, Iraq (40 miles north of Baghdad) when his armored humvee encountered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Allers was assigned to the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 617th Military Police Company, based in Richmond with a detachment in Bowling Green. The 617thMP Company mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in October of 2004 and deployed to Southwest Asia that November. Originally from Baltimore, Md., Allers joined the Kentucky Army National Guard in September of 2003 after serving with the U.S. Army and worked in Leitchfield for an office supply business. (Global War on Terror)

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Jason Jones

September 20, 2006 – Sgt. 1st Class Charles Jason Jones of Lawrenceburg (Anderson County), 29, died at Camp Liberty in Baghdad of non-combat related cause. Jones was assigned as a medic to the 149th Brigade Combat Team Headquarters. The unit, comprised of 50 soldiers, deployed to Iraq earlier in 2006 and had teams stationed throughout Iraq. Jones joined the Kentucky National Guard in 1993 at age 17 and graduated from South Laurel High School in London, Ky. in 1994. Prior to deploying to Iraq, Jones was a full-time Kentucky National Guard soldier stationed in Frankfort, Ky. Jones was a seasoned veteran, with previous deployments in 2002 to Germany and Bosnia. He also deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2004. (Global War on Terror)

September 21, 1813 – Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory at Put-In-Bay (Battle of Lake Erie).  Approximately 150 Kentucky Militiamen served as Marines aboard Perry’s fleet (War of 1812)

September 21, 1951 – Operation Summit (Korean War)

September 24, 1846 – Capture of Monterey, Mexico. The Louisville Legion, being posted to guard a mortar battery, and exposed to the enemy’s cannon fire for about 24 hours without being able to return their fire, hold in check the enemy’s cavalry, and “display obedience, patience, discipline, and calm courage.” Maj. Gen. Wm. O. Butler seriously wounded, and Maj. Philip Norbourne Barbour, of the 3rd regular infantry, killed (both Kentuckians). (Mexican-American War)

September 28, 1793 – Gov. Shelby orders the first draft for Kentucky troops, which is successful in getting troops for Wayne’s expedition. (Early Indian Wars)

September 28 – Gold Star Mother’s Day.

September 28, 1953 – Four Kentucky Air National Guardsmen were cited for their heroic efforts to rescue survivors in the wreckage of a chartered C-46 transport carrying soldiers from Camp Kilmer, NJ to Fort Knox. Recognized for their bravery were Jess D. Brown, Walter Carter, Howard A. Curtis and Charles W. Simmons, all were full-time air guard technicians.

September 29, 1899 – VFW established.

Sgt. Darrin K. Potter

September 29, 2003 – Sgt. Darrin K. Potter, 24, of Louisville, Ky., was killed in Iraq when his military police team responded to reports of a mortar attack outside of Baghdad near Abu Ghraib Prison, in Iraq. Potter was a member of the 223rd Military Police Company serving with the 800th Military Police Brigade in Iraq. It was the Kentucky Guard’s first combat-related death since the Vietnam War. (Global War on Terrorism)

September 30, 1848 – Col. Edward Brooks reaches Frankfort with the bones of the brave Kentuckians who were massacred by the Indians at the River Raisin, Jan. 18, 1812, which are interred in the state cemetery. They had been found in a common grave, and discovered, while digging down a street in Monroe, Michigan. The skulls were all cloven with the tomahawk, and an aged French citizen, a survivor of the massacre, knew them as the bones of the unfortunate Kentuckians, because he remembered the spot where they were buried.

Story by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Photos by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office


Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery enter and stand at attention during the farewell ceremony held at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012. Approximately 536 Kentucky Guardsmen will deploy to the Horn of Africa for nine months. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bolton)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard honored approximately 565 Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, during a departure ceremony at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012.

Hundreds of Family members and friends gathered with the Kentucky National Guard command staff to provide a fitting farewell as the unit departed for the Horn of Africa for a scheduled nine-month deployment.

To see more photos from the ceremony, click here.

Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini and Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes were on hand to greet Family members and speak to the troops, who will be known as Task Force Long Rifle.  Tonini reminded them all of the importance of serving their country and the Commonwealth.

“You are serving in the highest level of Kentucky military tradition,” he said.  “You are living examples of our Unbridled Service.  This mission is about giving comfort, aide and stability to a community of people.”


Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery stand at ease during rolecall before the farewell ceremony held at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012. Approximately 565 Guardsmen will deploy to the Horn of Africa for nine months to help promote regional security and to protect U.S. and Coalition interests in the region. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bolton)

“This is what we Guardsmen do day in and day out.”

The mission of the 2/138th will be to promote regional security and stability while strengthening local national relationships, as well as to protect U.S. and Coalition interests in East Africa.

This is not the first deployment of Kentucky National Guard troops to Africa.  The Kentucky Air Guard sent aircraft and crews to Somalia and Rwanda in the early 1990s as part of international humanitarian famine relief efforts.  In addition, Kentucky Army Guard units have trained with coalition forces in neighboring Egypt as part of Operation Bright Star.  Individual troops and teams have also deployed to the continent in support of U.S. military operations over the past few years.

Regardless of the location of a deployment, Soldier readiness remains the same, and according to the 2/138th leadership, Task Force Long Rifle is primed to take on this unique mission.

“We’re 110 percent ready,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Gividen, Task Force Long Rifle Command Sergeant Major.  “I am really proud of these Soldiers, they’ve trained really hard. I know we are ready to get there, come back and stand proud for a job well-done.”

The Kentucky National Guard Yellow Ribbon Program has also contributed to prepare the families of the deploying Soldiers.  Yellow Ribbon events and a strong Family Readiness Group have helped remind those left at home that they will not be alone.

“Deployment is never easy,” said Kelley Slaughter, wife of Capt. Mark Slaughter.  “But because of the programs available to families and going to Yellow Ribbon events, our family is prepared, and we have great information and resources.”


Spc. Perry Lowe with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 138th Fires Brigade, holds his niece after the farewell ceremony for the 138th’s departure to the Horn of Africa held at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bolton)

“I am so thankful they are here to help,” she said.

The Lexington, Ky.-based 2/138th stands as the most decorated unit in the Kentucky National Guard having completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during the war on terror.

Tonini said Soldiers of the 2/138th and the National Guard are an essential element in world events.

“Task Force Long Rifle shows the power of a force for good that can only be wielded by a Guardsman,” he said.  “This mission is about building and strengthening partnerships and being responsible world citizens.”

The Soldiers will train at Camp Atterbury, Indiana prior to deploying to Africa.  The unit is expected to return home in the summer of 2013.