Due to public health concerns from coronavirus, our museum will be closed 3/12 through 5/4.
Due to concerns over the health and safety of attendees and participants, the NGAUS board of directors has accepted the host state’s recommendation to cancel the 142nd General Conference & Exhibition set for Aug. 28-31, 2020, in Boston. In its place, the association will conduct an abbreviated virtual conference from Washington, D.C. This will enable NGAUS members nationwide to convene to conduct important business and hear from defense leaders. Details will be provided by June 1.
NGAUS and NGEF Delegation to Normandy, France in recognition of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2019
(Present: Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, CNBG; Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, TAG WI, Chairman of the Board of the National Guard Association; and BG (ret.) Roy Robinson, President of the National Guard Association of the United States.)
The 75th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6th, 1944, was memorialized throughout Western Europe and the United States earlier this month. The National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division (MD, DC, VA) landed on Omaha Beach that morning and changed the course of World War Two.
The National Guard Educational Foundation sponsored a VIP trip to the Monument in Vierville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France to commemorate the event. In attendance were Major General Donald P. Dunbar, Chairman of the Board of the National Guard Association of the United States and the Adjutant General of Wisconsin, BG (ret) Roy Robinson, the President of the National Guard Association of the United States, and several other VIPs. The group took part in several ceremonies including a dawn arrival at Omaha Beach, the formal ceremonies at the American Cemetery in Coleville-sur-Mer, and ceremonies at the National Guard Memorial and the 29th Infantry Division Memorial. The entire group was grateful for the opportunity to memorialize the service of the soldiers who fought for the fate of the Free World that day.
2018 Marked the Centennial of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.
The National Guard Enters World War One, April 6, 1917.
On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the war in Europe that would become known as the War to End All Wars. War was declared on Germany. On that day, the National Guard of the United States deployed and made up 40% of the entire US fighting power in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF.) 17 Divisions supported the effort overseas and the 42d Rainbow Division made up the 18th. From the 42d, William Donovan (to become “Wild Bill” and the founder of the CIA) received a Medal of Honor. One of the most important young men to join the ranks was Harry S. Truman of the Missouri National Guard, 35th ID. The “Harlem Hellfighters” 369th Infantry Regiment from New York paved the way for African American soldiers in the US Army. Henry Johnson of the 369th would receive the Distinguished Service Cross which was reissued as a Medal of Honor in 2015.
One of the first units to be Federalized under the National Defense Act of 1916, New York’s 1st Aero Company stood ready to support the United States in the Mexican Border Crisis of 1916. Out of Columbus, New Mexico, they were led by Lt. Benjamin Foulois (1869-1967), and flew reconnaissance flights over Mexico. Such service poised them to be selected for service in World War One. The fledgling Army Air Corps troops spent the war analyzing the advantages of aerial observation in war and recommending training, equipment, and military organization for the future. They entered the War formally in 1918. From their World War One efforts would rise the formidable United States Air National Guard.
Although World War One was deemed the one to “end all wars”, it did not. What it did do was to usher in the conditions that led to World War II and coin the term “the lost generation.” A devastated Europe would never be the same. Nor would the National Guard of the United States, now having served shoulder-to-shoulder with their active duty counterparts in both support and combat.
We may safely say that the Total Force Policy, germinated in 1903 with the passage of the Dick Act, began its path to today’s modern National Guard with roots firmly planted in the Belgian fields of Flanders poppies.
In Flanders Fields
Rendition of Poppies
On Sunday, July 15th, graphic mixed media artist Cathy Savels granted us permission to use her beautiful rendition of poppies, which are the quintessential representations of the blood of WW1 and Flanders fields. The National Guard entered the war in 1917 with 18 full Divisions. It was the first formal and major deployment of the National Guard overseas in American history. (Detail below.)
3D poppy, fabric and oil on canvas by Cathy Savels.
Please visit her website, www.cathysavels.com (used with permission)
On Saturday, November 4th, the NGEF Museum team took part in the 44th Annual Conference on D.C. History hosted by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. The title of this year’s conference is “Echo & Resonance: 1968.” In 2016, George Washington University Master’s Degree (then) candidate, Heather Glady interned here at the National Guard Memorial Museum. She chose to do a student show about the DC response to civil disorder in 1968. Her exhibit tied into an international show done at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. Her exhibit stayed in our lobby at One Massachusetts Ave., NW for many months and now, in a smaller form, is on permanent display in the Library. For the D.C. History Annual Conference, Anne C. Armstrong, our museum director, and Heather presented an informational poster designed to encourage both education and conversation about the National Guard actions taken during the ’68 D.C. Civil Disorder. The exhibit was shown between 12 and 1:15pm local time, in the Sanctuary of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1313 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 20005. We had a wonderful time!
NB: The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church was attended regularly by President Abraham Lincoln. While there this weekend, we were able to admire the Presidential pew as well as his reading room.
Pew nametag at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Artifact of the Week
Gas Warfare: Smoke, Flame, and Gas in Modern War Book
Gas Warfare: Smoke, Flame, and Gas in Modern War, was written by British Brig. Gen. Alden H. Watt and published in 1918. Watt was a chemist and teacher before he entered the service and volunteered as self-proclaimed “amateur solider” on the front. With the onset of gas warfare, Watt saw that many of his fellow servicemen needed to be educated with regard to how to protect oneself against a gas attack, driving him to write this book. This book was also read by civilians so that they could be prepared in case of a gas attack. Watt was welcomed by the United States Government on its counsel on all effects of Gas Warfare and became an internationally respected expert on Gas Warfare.