Faces From the Past

By William Roulett A Rendering of Abel Chapin from a Family Register (Courtesy of National Archives) At the National Guard Memorial Museum, we’re always researching something. It could be anything from an outside research request, future Minuteman Minute episodes, a new exhibit, or an existing one. Thanks to our access to the resources of other [...]

The Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941

By Kevin Brown The rise of Hitler’s Germany and new strategies like Blitzkrieg (“lightning war”), which combined tanks, infantry, and artillery to overwhelm enemy forces, shocked the American military establishment. The Third Reich’s rapid sweep through Poland and France from 1939 to 1940 made the dire situation clear, The American military was unprepared for modern [...]

A Distinguished Flying Cross First

By Samantha Burnett The minuteman has long served as a symbol of the leadership and sacrifice of the National Guard. Today, Air Force Major Katie Lunning acts as a modern-day example. An intensive care unit manager at the Iowa VA hospital, the then Captain Lunning answered a short-notice deployment to serve with the 379th Aeromedical [...]

The 29th at Normandy

By Kevin Brown The National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division stands out for its service at Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. The 29th was dubbed the “Blue and Gray,” represented in a yin-yang symbol patch, because the Division traced its history to Union and Confederate Civil War units. In World War I, the 29th [...]

The National Guard and WWII Coastal Defense

By Kevin Brown Coastal defense was an ongoing theme in American military history from 1776 to the beginning of the Cold War. The country’s leadership saw the United States as vulnerable to attacks and invasions. The rise of fascism in the 1930s under Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, and Benito Mussolini only heightened anxieties. Increasingly belligerent [...]

Andrew’s Raiders and the First Medals of Honor

By Will Roulett Visitors to the National Guard Memorial Museum have probably walked through the Medal of Honor Gallery. It is a tribute to 147 Guardsmen who received the Medal since 1898. However, the Medal of Honor was first presented on March 25, 1863, to six of the surviving members of Andrew’s Raiders. Their exploits [...]

Norma Parsons-Erb and Guard Trailblazers

By Kevin Brown Several years after President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 ending racial segregation in the United States armed services, Congress allowed women to serve as reserve officers with Public Law 845 on July 30th, 1956. Public Law 845 only allowed women to serve as appointed nurses and other medical specialists in [...]

Gen. Henry V. Graham and the Schoolhouse Door

By Kevin Brown The civil rights movement propelled meaningful changes to the country’s tapestry in the decades following World War II. Alabama Army National Guard officer Henry Vance Graham was a witness who facilitated these changes during the Civil Rights era’s most heated moments in the 1960s. Henry Graham was born and raised in Birmingham, [...]

Remembering Vietnam: The National Guard’s Role

By Will Roulett President Obama released a proclamation that recognized May 28, 2012, through November 11, 2025, as the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam war. Congress cited five objectives of the Vietnam War Commemoration. The primary objective is to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War. 2023 will be marked by thousands of events [...]

The National Archives Veterans Record Fire of 1973

By Kevin Brown We frequently receive requests here at the National Guard Memorial Museum from historians and relatives of guardsmen for assistance with service records. However, this isn’t always easy due to a devastating 1973 fire that impacted military service-related documents at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The fire, which affected the Federal government’s [...]