Recent Blog Posts
- 239th Anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, August 27th 1776 September 28, 2015
- NGAUS Conference Transcripts from 1879 to Present August 11, 2015
- NGEF Staff Visits the National Museum of the Marine Corps March 12, 2015
The National Guard Memorial Museum will be closed on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 for cleaning.
Artifacts from the man who helped create the modern National Guard went on display Friday at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The temporary exhibit dedicated to Charles Dick includes a sword and scabbard he carried during the Spanish-American War when he was a member of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a hat he wore as a senator at the inauguration of President William McKinley in 1901, notes from a speech he gave as a senator in the 1920s and more.
The items have been donated by members of Dick’s family. His grandson, Edgar Williams, and two great-grandsons, Charles Tharp and Bruce Williams, attended the small reception in the lobby of the National Guard Memorial Museum.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Dick sponsored the Efficiency in Militia Act of 1903, known commonly as the Dick Act, that provided more equipment to the National Guard and gave the federal government greater control of the force, empowering the president to call up the Guard.
Anne Armstrong, the deputy director of the National Guard Educational Foundation, said in remarks at the dedication that the Dick Act “paved the way for the Total Force.”
Edgar Williams said his grandfather lived with his family in his later years in red brick house in Akron, Ohio, and recalled attending a reunion of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry with him, marveling at the reception for his grandfather.
“There were hundreds of old men there,” he said. “The whole crowd got up and cheered. It was a stunning revelation to me that he was really somebody.”
Armstrong, who said the exhibit fills an “artifact gap” for the NGEF, said the display would remain until June 17th, 2016.
Dick, who was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1858 and died there in 1945, also served as adjutant general of Ohio. He was the NGAUS president from 1902 to 1909 and a founding director of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Dick was the subject of a Guard Roots story in the June 2015 issue of National Guard. It can found at www.nationalguardmagazine.com.
On Wednesday, June 3, 2015, Colonel Roy Qualls, Deputy DJS, LANG, stepped into the office and asked us if we would like an artifact for the Museum collection. We were open to listening to his story!
On September 11, 2001, Col. Qualls was a Louisiana Air National Guard F-15 pilot. In the flurry of activity that morning, Col. Qualls found himself armed and flying combat air patrols rather than his normal training mission. Just before a sortie, Col. Qualls was handed a fax with a particular order – he stuffed it in his flight suit pocket and went to fly. That fax still exists and is now on exhibit in the National Guard Memorial Museum’s 9/11 Era Gallery.
What makes this fax so important? It’s important because on the morning of 9/11/2001 it said, “The Vice President has cleared us to intercept tracks of interest and shoot them down if they do not respond.” Those ‘tracks of interest’ were any aircraft that refused to acknowledge and follow the commands of Air Traffic Control without any distinction – they could have been MIGs, little Cessna 150s, or a commercial airliner full of unwitting passengers.
Our Guardsmen were suddenly and directly tasked to shoot down aircraft within US airspace, in defense of the United States and its territories.
One of the most significant effects of the attacks on the morning of 9/11 was to find our Guardsmen in defense of the country – performing our domestic mission – and within weeks, to be performing an international mission. At a moment’s notice, the National Guard of the United States was engaged in both State and Federal missions domestically and internationally.
This fax, this artifact of our history, reflects the authority and responsibility placed on the well-trained, equipped, and talented shoulders of our Guardsmen in defense of our country.
Ironically, these well-trained soldiers couldn’t be bothered to change the date on the antiquated fax machine that brought these orders – look closely and note that the upper left corner (of the photo) has a date from January 3, 1995! It’s rather like leaving your VCR blinking at ’12:00’. Such important orders with such an insignificant typo!
Special thanks to Col. Qualls and the Louisiana Air National Guard for the donation and for declassifying the document.