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.

202nd GABBF 2

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.”

202nd Army Band-4

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.


Story and Photos by:  Staff Sgt. Fredrick P. Varney, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


Col. William A. Denny, Commander for the 238th Regiment, administers the oath of office to OCS class 54-12 during the Officer Commissioning Ceremony at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Aug 25. The 238th Regiment graduated 11 new officers to serve in the Kentucky National Guard. (photo by Staff Sgt. Fredrick Varney, Kentucky National Guard 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

FRANKFORT, Ky.– Eleven second lieutenants raised their right hands and swore an oath of office to become the Kentucky National Guard’s newest officers at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. Aug. 25 , 2012.

Officer Candidate Class 54-12 endured a rigorous 18-month training program on their way to becoming the next leaders in the Kentucky National Guard.  Officer candidates were tested in key areas such as physical fitness, leadership abilities, land navigational skills and operational orders.

“The hardest part of the OCS program is definitely the mental aspect,” said distinguished honor graduate 2nd Lt. Martin A. Goldey.

Goldey was presented with the Erickson Trophy for attaining the highest overall standing in leadership, academics and the Commandant’s evaluation in the class.  The Erickson Trophy is awarded in honor of retired Maj. Gen. Edgar C. Erickson, former Chief of the National Guard Bureau.  Each state officer candidate school grants the trophy annually.

To see more photos from this story, click here


Staff Sgt. John Riggi shakes hands with newly promoted 2nd. Lt. Joshua Whitfield during the 238th Regiment’s OCS Commissioning Ceremony at the State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Aug 25. Class 54-12 graduated 11 new lieutenants to serve in the Kentucky Army National Guard. (photo by Staff Sgt. Fredrick Varney, Kentucky National Guard 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Other awards included the Physical Fitness Award, which was given to 2nd Lt. Donald Prysi for attaining the highest overall score on the Army Physical Fitness test.   2nd Lt. Carson Gregory was presented the National Guard Association of Kentucky Award for earning the highest academic average in the class.  2nd Lt. Christopher Cook was presented the Association of the U.S. Army Plaque for demonstrating the highest standards of leadership throughout the course.Class 54-12 president 2nd Lt. Scott A. Hill said finishing the OCS program meant a great deal for him because he had previously held leadership roles as both a teacher and volleyball coach, but nothing compared to having the opportunity to lead his fellow Soldiers in the Kentucky National Guard.

“I can’t think of anything more honorable than serving one’s country as an officer in the United States Army, especially the Kentucky National Guard,” said Hill.

The traditional custom of having friends and Family pin their newly promoted officers was observed and each Soldier designated one non-commissioned officer to render their first salute.

Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky’s Adjutant General, served as the keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony, while the 202nd Army Band participated by playing both the National Anthem and “My Old Kentucky Home”.

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


Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) members from the Kentucky National Guard plan strategic measures on how to assist citizens of Kentucky in the event of a state emergency in Frankfort, Ky. August 3, 2012. (photo by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office).

FRANKFORT, Ky.–United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and National Guard Bureau (NGB) servicemembers convened at the Capital Plaza Hotel to discuss ways on how to best aid the civilians of Kentucky and the first responders when faced with domestic disasters in Kentucky Aug. 3, 2012.“The training will help us do a better job of planning during a crisis and to be more thorough in responding to the needs of the citizens of the Commonwealth in the event of a national disaster,” said Col. William A. Denny, Kentucky National Guard Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.

The domestic response graduated level staff was comprised of individuals from Civil Support Teams (CST) all the way through senior general officer leadership. Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ) members from the Kentucky National Guard sought to lie out plans on how to assist citizens of Kentucky in the event of a state emergency.

Among the topics considered were the logistics of responding to state disasters in terms of mustering troops for response, coordinating with government officials, correctly paying Soldiers, responsibly allocating resources, dealing with legal matters, etc.

“After these three days we’re staffed to better serve the governor and citizens of Kentucky,” said Maj. Dean Roberts, a National Guardsman from Colorado Springs, Colo. working with USNORTHCOM.  “There is nothing that the Kentucky Guard does without the request of civilian authorities.”


Kentucky Army National Guard Col. William A. Denny, Kentucky National Guard Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, explains planning and logistical operations for the task forces assigned to different sectors of Kentucky in the event of a natural disaster scenario in the state August 3, 2012 in Frankfort, Ky. (photo by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Scenarios included in the planning and development of these response measures drew from past natural disasters in Kentucky including ice storms, earthquakes, wild fires, and tornados.  Joint operations with FEMA were also part of the presentations and contingency planning operation process.Unique to the National Guard has been the additional responsibility of homeland missions in conjunction with federal operations overseas.  With the continued drawdown of troops from overseas, the Kentucky National Guard is beginning to apply those learned skill sets from theater operations here at home.

“50 percent of our mission is to support domestic operations and it’s very critical that we translate those military skills that we learn as part of our training into domestic operations and support for the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Richie, Commander of the Land Component Command for the Kentucky National Guard.  “That’s what this training is about, it’s about how you take those military skills and apply those in a disaster situation.”

When dealing with natural disasters, the leadership of the Kentucky National Guard knows that there must be a precise and systematic series of precautionary and reactionary responses to any given situation.  Preparation is the catalyst for efficiency.

“There’s an art and a science to domestic response. It’s the most important of all guard missions,” said Roberts.

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


Kentucky Guardsman Spc. Austin Kirk, a security specialist at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort,Ky., plays the role of a terrorist during a training exercise designed to simulate a suicide bomb attack August 15, 2012. Ginger Starrett and Brady Murphy, also security specialists at BNGC were on scene to apprehend Kirk as he attempted to detonate a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. (photo by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office)

FRANKFORT, Ky.– An unassuming vehicle pulls up to the front gate of the Boone National Guard Center August 15, 2012 in Frankfort, Ky.  It’s a typical Wednesday afternoon.  The driver is motioned forward by Ginger Starrett, a security specialist assigned to BNGC.  White-knuckled with a stone-cold face, the driver pulls up to the entry control point.  Noticing his stern demeanor, Starrett begins to inspect the vehicle with a discerning eye.  An instant later, the driver has pulled out a homemade detonator and attempts to set off a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).What happened next was part of a carefully designed and choreographed series of events that was meant to diminish any further threat to service members and civilians working at BNGC.

“We have a plan for Boone Center”, said Eldern Riley, State Anti-terrorism Program Manager.  “Protect the assets and resources of the Kentucky National Guard including personnel and facilities.”

Col. Charlie Harris, State Security Manager, said that in addition to exercising the plan to keep the people of BNGC safe, the coordination with other agencies like the Kentucky State Police Bomb Squad and the Frankfort Police Department was important.

Despite the intensity of this event, it is not the first rigorous training exercise that has taken place at BNGC.  Other scenarios have included an active shooter situation in which the security forces had to respond to a shooter on post.

“Our security force has done a lot,” said Larry McCord, Security Operations Chief at BNGC.  “J2 (which deals with physical, personnel, and intelligence security) writes the plans and someone must implement it, we can do that.”


Jennifer Chilton, an Interim Security Specialist at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., directs traffic away from the front gates after a Vehicle-Bourne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was detected as part of a bomb threat exercise scenario at BNGCC in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 15, 2012. (Photo by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office)

The hard work of the BNGC officers has not gone unnoticed.  Over the past few years the BNGC has been presented the Army Security Award as well as the Department of the Army’s Best Antiterrorism Program Unit for 2011.The process of responding and adjusting to these kinds of threats is continually revamped based on prior exercises and training simulations.

“We learned some things and we’ll use what we learned to update future plans,” said Harris.

McCord noted that the exercise was a huge success saying, “It’s a big feather in our cap for the Kentucky State Police to give us credit for our part in the exercise.

The true benefit of conducting this kind of life-like training is the payoff that it brings.

Riley said that the training exercises helped the younger officers to prepare for real world events.

“There’s a lot more than most people think,” said McCord.  “Someday, someone is going to make a move and I hope that we’re there to catch it.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

The Kentucky Guard Command Staff directed August as Antiterrorism Awareness Month to bring a heightened sense to the potential threats against personnel and facilities throughout Kentucky.

Warrant officers, the quiet professionals?

On August 22, 2012, in Recruiting, by kyngpao

Commentary by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Turner, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade

Kentucky’s first combined officer and warrant officer graduating class

Kentucky National Guardsmen swear in as new warrant officers at the state capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 20, 2011. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Oliver)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting the Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker, Alabama, you will notice a sign at your feet as you enter the building that reads “Quiet Professional.”  That cannot be further from the truth in today’s Warrant Officer Corps.

The evolution of the Warrant Officer Corps has stemmed much debate about our role as highly adaptable technical experts, leaders, and mentors.

Today’s Army warrant officer is still looked upon by their commander for the technical answer.  However, a warrant officer’s role extends well beyond just supporting their commander in their field of expertise.  They serve as guideposts for enlisted Soldiers, at both the junior and senior level.  This is where mentorship becomes a very important role for the warrant officer.

We must constantly be looking for highly motivated and knowledgeable Soldiers who are dedicated to lifelong learning in their field of expertise.  Those are the types of Soldiers we are looking for to enter our Warrant Officer Corps.

In sales, the best lead comes from the buyer or satisfied customer.  There are currently 145 warrant officers in our ranks.  The Command Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 5 James Simms looks upon each of those warrant officers, or satisfied customers, to find eligible Soldiers who have the potential to become a warrant officer too.

With over 7,400 members currently serving in the Kentucky Army National Guard, the Warrant Officer Corps in Kentucky certainly does not make up the majority.   Even so, the Warrant Officer Corps’ strength is not is numbers but in technical knowledge, and their ability to lead Soldiers and advise the commander in their individual skill.

Warrant Officer logo

Army warrant officers have officially been around since 1918. Originally designated as Army mine planters, the career field has constantly expanded to include technical and aviation warrants in the modern service. The Kentucky Army National Guard currently has 146 warrant officers serving the Commonwealth.

Today’s warrant officer is part of the command staff, attending all staff meetings where they can certainly offer vast knowledge and understanding through their progressive assignments and experience.   Typically, the senior enlisted leadership and the warrant officer(s) stay in place while commanders transition through the unit.  This offers the continuity needed to allow continued growth of the unit’s mission and the Soldier’s within it.

The demands put on Soldiers today are much stricter than the recent past.  However, the experiences the average Soldier has gained through military schools, various assignments, and, let us not forget, multiple deployments, has allowed so much opportunity for growth within our ranks.

Who could have predicted that the Kentucky Army National Guard would have Soldiers who are 25 years old with three deployments?  That experience is largely what makes an excellent warrant officer.  It all comes down to experience.

Kentucky’s Warrant Officer Corps also offers a great balance between younger Soldiers and older Soldiers.  Often, senior leaders depict the warrant officer as a Soldier who joined the military before they were born.  Although we have plenty of senior warrant officers in our ranks, you will now see a better mix of age and experience as a whole.   This is mostly due to the growth of the warrant officer positions within Kentucky.

When we first stood up the warrant officer strength management position in Kentucky, there were less than 60 warrant officers and just over 100 authorizations.  Now, there are over 190 warrant officer authorizations with 146 total warrant officers in the Kentucky Army National Guard.   Due to the fact that almost 50% of the current warrant officers in Kentucky can retire, we are constantly recruiting and looking for their future replacement.

After serving for 24 years in the Army National Guard, 17 of those years in recruiting, I have never seen this much opportunity within the Kentucky Army National Guard.  There are no limits to how far you can take your career.  Whether your goal is to become the State Command Sergeant Major, the Command Chief Warrant Officer, or the Adjutant General, the limits only lie within yourself and your goals.

If you want more information on the Warrant Officer Program, please contact Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Turner.

Office: (502) 607-6200

Cell: (502) 320-3653