Story by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
Photos by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
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.
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.”
“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.”
“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
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.
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
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.”
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
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.”
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.
Commentary by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Turner, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade
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.
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
Story and photos by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard appointed two new warrant officers to its ranks during a ceremony at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Aug.21. Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini presided over the event.
Warrant Officer Robert Boatman of the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion has served in the military for nearly 18 years. The Lawrenceburg, Ky., native, has served in the Kentucky National Guard since 2003. Boatman completed his warrant officer school in 2011, but waited until a position opened up for him to be appointed. His wife Mechelle was on hand to pin his new rank on his uniform.
Boatman said he believes his new rank will open new doors and take him further in his career as he hopes to go as high as he can.
Warrant Officer Timothy Collins, also with the 103rd BSB, joined the Kentucky National Guard in 2001 after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. The Russell Springs, Ky., native, worked as the Administration NCO, and will become an AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) Manager for the Human Resources Office in Frankfort. Collins was joined at the ceremony by his wife Lora and their two sons, Ethan and Elijah.
“Becoming a warrant officer has been a career goal for me,” said Collins. “I did this to do bigger and better things for my profession and myself.”
State Command Chief Warrant Officer James Simms spoke of the importance of warrant officers in the service and of the quality Soldiers joining that elite group. Referring to Boatman and Collins, Simms called them examples of the leadership and expertise needed in the Kentucky Army National Guard.
Currently there are over 190 warrant officer authorizations with 148 total warrant officers in the Kentucky Army National Guard. The small group of Soldiers is recruiting to fill its ranks with experts in their field. Boatman said if he could say anything to those thinking of becoming a warrant officer, it’s about the experience one can bring.
“Learn everything you can,” he said. “And bring the traits a good NCO, it’s what makes a good warrant officer.”
Story and photos by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
FRANKFORT, Ky.– When Joe Wilkins joined the Kentucky National Guard in 1960, he had no idea that the path he began would lead him to playing a key role in Kentucky’s military legacy. After a one year mobilization during the Berlin Crisis and selling men’s clothing while attending college, he thought his military career would be short-lived.“When I joined the Guard it was my intent to serve three years and get out,” said Wilkins. “My best friend who joined with me followed through with our plan.”
But fate had other plans for him. Wilkins, who recently retired as the civilian director of facilities for the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, was a major influence in the development of the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, the Guard’s flagship training site in the western part of the state, as well as Bluegrass Station in central Kentucky.
Often referred to as the “NTC of the east” – a reference to the National Training Center in California – WHFRTC is a 12,000 acre facility built on reclaimed strip mine land in Muhlenberg County. Where temporary shacks and house trailers once stood, a fully equipped and dynamic military installation is now in full swing, complete with multiple classroom buildings, shooting ranges, maintenance and long-term storage facilities as well as a mess hall and medical station. Thousands of Kentucky National Guard troops, active duty members from all branches of service and even civilians have trained at the facility.
“I have to credit Major General Bob DeZarn for his vision to make a lot of my dreams for the Wendell Ford Training Center become reality,” said Wilkins. “I am grateful to all of the professionals that I’ve worked with, from our troops and state employees to agencies like the state finance cabinet. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of good people.”
Bluegrass Station was an economic development project taken on by the department in the wake of closing down the old Lexington-Bluegrass Depot Activity. Under Wilkins’ tenure there the facility’s occupancy grew to more than 90 percent, attracting military contractors and equipment redistribution programs and bringing thousands of jobs to Kentucky.”We did a lot of great things at both of those facilities,” said Wilkins. “It was a lot of hard work, but it was fun and it brought prestige to the National Guard and the state of Kentucky.”
Brig. Gen. Mike Richie, Assistant Adjutant General, said that Wilkins’ wisdom and leadership were instrumental his success.
“Joe has a fatherly leadership style that is authentic and persuasive,” said Richie. ”He was able to see the big picture, put together all of the pieces and then convince you this was the right thing to do. The proof is in his legacy at the Wendell Ford Training Center and what he did at Bluegrass Station.”
“It has been my privilege to have been nurtured and mentored by Joe,” said State Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Armstrong. “I have long admired his positive actions and gentle professional manner. He has provided countless positive impacts on Kentucky Guardsman from young enlisted to our most senior general officers during his career.”
Wilkins’ legacy with the Kentucky Guard lives on with his sons, Lt. Col. Brent Wilkins, Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Wilkins, his daughter Spc. Susan Wilkins and daughter-in-law Sgt. 1st Class Angela Wilkins.
In case you’re interested, Wilkins plans to keep busy in his retirement. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my hobby, collecting and repairing antique clocks and traveling about these great United States with my wife, Frances.”
This is Part III of a five-part series documenting the travels of Kentucky Guard Command Historian, John Trowbridge as he explores Kentucky’s participation in the War of 1812.
Story and photos by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
MONROE, Mich.– “Remember the Raisin!” The battle cry that galvanized Americans during the War of 1812 after many wounded U.S. troops were slayed by Native tribes following the battles at Frenchtown. It was this slogan that rallied American forces, many of which were from Kentucky, and created the reason needed to invade Canada to combat British forces.
For Kentucky National Guard State Command Historian John Trowbridge, the connection between the War of 1812 and the Kentucky militia is of vital importance. The links to the Kentucky Guard of today and to the citizens of the commonwealth are his primary concern.
Kentuckians have lost sight of the significance and impact that this particular war had on the state, Trowbridge noted.
“It still impacts the commonwealth today. Of our 120 counties that we have, 31 have a War of 1812 connection. As a historian, I feel people need to know those types of things.”
Trowbridge’s primary goal is to educate Kentuckians, not just Soldiers but also the civilians on the role that the Kentucky militia played in the War of 1812.
“Kentucky’s significant role in 1812 was the militia, the predecessor to the Kentucky National Guard,” said Trowbridge. “As a historian, that’s what the whole story of the Kentucky National Guard was, it was about us and our predecessors.”
In addition to his duties as the state command historian, Trowbridge is also the vice chair for the Kentucky’s War of 1812 commission. In this capacity, Trowbridge, in conjunction with other historians and government officials, has started to locate the grave sites of fallen Kentucky militiamen and is trying to relocate the remains back to Kentucky. Placing markers showing Kentucky’s role in the War of 1812 are also a goal of Trowbridge.
From the battles in New Orleans to the bloody campaigns in the old northwest territories of Ohio and Indiana, all the way to the northern skirmishes of Canada, the Kentucky militia fought to protect America and its citizens from encroaching forces.
“It’s an important telling of who we are and where we come from,” said Trowbridge.
From the Lexington Herald-Leader
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky National Guard mourns the lost of one if its most innovative Airmen. Maj. Gen. Philip Pendleton Ardery died July 26 at his home in Louisville, at the age of 98.
“The Kentucky Air National Guard has long history of excellence, and that is no accident,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General for Kentucky. ”Phillip Ardery was a true Renaissance man, a combat veteran of World War II, a lawyer, citizen soldier, author and humanitarian. He set a standard that continues to challenge us today. General Ardery has been the inspiration to 123d leadership for the entire history of the Wing.”
“Thanks to his vision and drive, the Kentucky Air National Guard is a major player in the defense of our nation and the safety and security of the commonwealth of Kentucky.”
He was born March 6, 1914, in Lexington, KY, son of William Breckenridge and Julia Hoge Spencer Ardery. He grew up on a farm between Paris and Lexington, and the people, plants, and animals of Bourbon County left deep impressions on him, which he loved recounting. His writings about some of them appeared in Heroes and Horses, a collection of essays published by the University Press of Kentucky in 1996.
He attended the Paris city schools and went on to the University of Kentucky, where he studied English literature and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1935. Ardery attended law school at Harvard, graduating in 1938, and was admitted to the Kentucky Bar that year.
Although he had joined the U.S. Infantry Reserve in 1935, in 1940 Ardery enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private. He graduated 1st Captain of the Flying Cadet Corps from Kelly Field in San Antonio, TX, in April 1941 and was assigned to serve as a flight instructor at Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas. There, he met his bride-to-be, Anne Stuyvesant Tweedy, at a dance. They were married at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in San Angelo December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Capt. Ardery commanded the 564th Bomb Squadron (H) beginning in February 1943, joining the 389th Bomb Group (H) based in Norwich, England, that June. From outposts in North Africa, he flew B-24s on many missions across the Mediterranean, including the first low-level raid on oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, for which he earned the Silver Star.
From England and North Africa, he flew raids over Vegesack, Bayeux, Solingen, and Oslo during the winter of 1943-44, leading up to the invasion of Normandy. He led the 2nd Combat Bomb Wing on the first daylight bombing of Berlin in March 1944 and flew on the first mission of D-Day, June 6, 1944.
His memoir of the war, Bomber Pilot, was published in 1978.
Discharged from active duty in 1945, Ardery was named two years later to command the 123rd Fighter Wing of the newly formed Kentucky Air National Guard.
Called to active duty during the Korean War, Ardery and the 123rd relocated to England, where he served as wing-base commander of the NATO Air Force, RAF Station, in Manston, 1951-52.
After deactivation, he continued to command the 123rd, which at times included air groups in other states as well as Kentucky’s group based at Louisville’s Standiford Field.
Ardery was promoted to Brigadier General in April 1962 and retired from the military as a Major General in 1965.
His long life was the daily occupation of Anne Tweedy Ardery, his wife and friend for almost 71 years. He is survived by Anne, son Philip Pendleton Ardery, Jr. and his wife Cecilia Palacio Ardery, son Joseph Lord Tweedy Ardery and his wife Anne Lenihan Ardery, all of Louisville, and daughter Julia Spencer Ardery and her husband, William Allen Bishop, of Austin, Texas.
Ardery was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, July 30.
Obituary published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on July 29, 2012
Story and photos by 1st Lt. Gus LaFontaine, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
FRANKFORT, Ky. — At first glance, you may wonder who is the Soldier holding a crown from the cockpit of an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter. Upon further investigation, you would learn that this is Spc. Chelsea Hardy, of C Company, 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation Regiment and Miss Kentucky State University. On April 9, 2012 Hardy was crowned the university’s 83rd Miss Kentucky State. It was the culmination of a process that began her freshman year as a brand-new college student in Frankfort, Ky.
“I remember being at freshman orientation and seeing Miss Kentucky State,” said Hardy. “And I thought to myself, I could never do that! I shunned the idea.”
Her confidence grew over the next few years of her college career. When Hardy was a junior she ran for Miss Junior Kentucky State. That competition ended in victory for Hardy and then catapulted her confidence forward insomuch that she chose to run for the university’s most prolific pageant the following year.
However, there were other events happening in the background. In 2009 Hardy chose to join the Indiana Army National Guard. Despite being a resident of Indianapolis, her time in the Indiana Guard was short-lived. As Hardy searched for a college, she soon found herself heading south to Kentucky State University.
“I really enjoy dancing,” she said. “I chose to come to Kentucky State because they offered an opportunity to dance.”
Hardy participates as a dancer with the K-State band. It was in Frankfort that she chose to transfer into the Kentucky Army National Guard. She serves as a maintenance clerk for aviation and ground support. Her service in the Guard helps her finance college and has also given her valuable training that she has applied to her pursuit of Miss Kentucky State.
“Miss Kentucky State is required to have a platform,” said Hardy. “I chose to focus on selfless service from the Army Core Values. I built my campaign around that platform.”
Hardy worked very hard to take a service-minded approach to the Miss Kentucky State pageant. She made efforts to improve campus life by planning entertaining events for the student body.
“I organized a campus wide event called ‘It Pays to be a Gentleman.’ Female students held a contest for the men on campus to participate in. The women judged the men in five categories. The winner received $100.”
Hardy offered the cash reward from her own pocket.
“I wanted to pay the best gentleman for his leadership in hopes to encourage other males on campus to demonstrate the same qualities.”
Her service doesn’t stop there. During her Miss Kentucky State tenure she plans to serve in local nursing homes, a women’s battery shelter and a food kitchen. She also plans on serving with the Promising Youth Center. The center is sponsored by Kentucky State University and provides after-school programs for Frankfort youth.
With a full-plate as Miss Kentucky State University and the regular assignments that come with studying social work as a student, you might think that Hardy is content. This is not the case.
“I have goals in the Kentucky Guard,” she said. “Later this year I want to compete in our Command Sergeant Major challenge that encompasses various Army Warrior Tasks.”
Maj. Jeremy Kearney, Hardy’s commander for the last year and a half, expressed his confidence.
“I have seen her grow as a soldier. Spc. Hardy is confident in her ability to execute her job and it’s evident in her performance.”
With such an endorsement and a service-oriented approach, she might just earn a crown Soldiering.