11th Edition (2023)
The National Guard and the Liberation of Europe
On June 6, 1944, Allied forces embarked on the greatest amphibious invasion in human history to liberate Europe from the Nazis, D-Day. Elements from three National Guard divisions were among the forces that landed during the invasion’s first month and were pivotal in securing a foothold in France. Those divisions were the 29th, the 30th, and the 35th Infantry Divisions.
The National Guard Educational Foundation recognizes the 80th anniversary of D-Day with our 2023 ornament. The Guard’s significant contributions to that momentous offensive are represented by the insignia of the first three National Guard divisions to land in France appearing over the French flag.
The 29th ID, or the “Blue and Gray” Division, was formed from Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia units. The 29th clawed its way onto Omaha Beach with the invasion’s first wave and secured a foothold in France. A monument to the Guard’s service overlooks the beach where they landed.
The 30th ID, or the “Old Hickory” Division, was created from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee units. This division spearheaded the Allied breakthrough at the strategic crossroads of St. Lo.
The 35th ID, or the “Sante Fe” Division, beat back 12 German counterattacks before joining the fight for St. Lo. The 35th’s units were from Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Thanks to the unparalleled heroism of these Guardsmen, Europe and the rest of the world were liberated from Nazi tyranny.
10th Edition (2022)
The National Guard’s State Partnership Program
Following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, Europe entered a time of uncertainty as new democracies emerged. The National Guard Bureau saw an opportunity to leverage the skills and versatility of citizen-soldiers and airmen at the grassroots level to maintain stability in the region. The Guard’s dual federal and state missions made it ideal to demonstrate effective democratic institutions, pursue humanitarian assistance, and develop crisis management mechanisms across institutions. This idea formed the basis of the State Partnership Program, which officially established its first partnerships on April 27, 1993.
On this ornament are the national flags of the 13 partner countries that joined the program in 1993 and are still active today. They represent the partnerships of Maryland and Estonia, Michigan and Latvia, Pennsylvania and Lithuania, Tennessee and Bulgaria, Texas/Nebraska and the Czech Republic, Ohio and Hungary, Vermont and North Macedonia, Illinois and Poland, Alabama and Romania, Indiana and Slovakia, Colorado and Slovenia, Arizona and Kazakhstan, and California and Ukraine.
Today, the State Partnership Program has grown to include 85 relationships with 93 countries, and more are slated to join. The National Guards of all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia work with at least one partner country.
9th Edition (2021)
Based in Schenectady, New York, the 109th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard flies specially outfitted LC-130H aircraft in support of the National Science Foundation’s South Pole Research program. Pictured here in 2007, the 139th Airlift Squadron Hercules takes off from Shackleton Glacier, Antarctica with the aid of Jet Assisted Takeoff (JATO) rockets indicated by the bright lights aft of the main landing gear. Staging out of Christchurch, New Zealand, one of their most famous missions was the 1999 medevac of Dr. Jerri Nielsen who was stationed at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. In true National Guard fashion, when not in use by the NSF, the 109th Hercules support the United States missions in Operation Enduring Freedom as well as domestic disaster relief. Order Here
8th Edition (2020)
This oil-on-canvas painting adorns the Montgomery Room inside the National Guard Memorial, named for Gillespie V. “Sonny” Montgomery (August 5, 1920 – May 12, 2006). A Mississippi Guardsman and veteran of World War II and Korea, Sonny Montgomery retired as a Major General in 1980. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years (D-MS), during which he sponsored the Montgomery G.I. Bill. This educational benefit remains a widely used resource for Guardsmen and their families. Throughout his career, Sonny was a staunch supporter of the National Guard Association of the United States and advocated for the Guard on Capitol Hill. Order Here
7th Edition (2019) (SOLD OUT)
Featuring the National Guard Memorial’s prominent 6′ bronze Minuteman statue, which now stands ready in the memorial’s entry lobby. The National Guard Association of the United States commissioned renowned sculptor Evangelos Frudakis to design the statue in 1991 at the cost of $97,000. Now our prestigious monument is featured on our seventh edition commemorative ornament.
6th Edition (2018)
Depicting the National Guard Association of the United States’ tribute to Delaware’s part in World War One and the Centennial of the Armistice in 1918, this elegant symbol is sixth in a series of commemorative ornaments offered by the National Guard Educational Foundation. Order Here.
5th Edition (2017)
The 5th Annual Commemorative Ornament pays tribute to the 1st Aero Company, New York National Guard – the first unit to be federalized and called into service in World War I. Order Here.
4th Edition (2016)
The 4th Annual Commemorative Ornament honors the National Guard’s participation in D-Day, June 6th 1944, featuring the NGAUS monument on Normandy Beach. Order Here.
3rd Edition (2015)
The third edition ornament depicts a guardsman returning home from deployment. This is NGEF’s celebration of the Guard family, recognizing all that you do! Order Here.
2nd Edition (2014)
The second edition ornament depicts the National Guard Memorial, which was dedicated in 1991. Order Here.
Dr. Jill Biden places the National Guard Memorial Ornament on an Armed Forces Tree in the Naval Observatory. Son, Major Beau Biden, serves in the Delaware National Guard JAG corps and deployed to Iraq from 2008 to 2009. (Scroll to bottom of page, please.) NB: We are sad to report that on May 30, 2015, Maj. Beau Biden succumbed to brain cancer. We offer our condolences to the Biden family.
1st Edition (2013)
Additionally, limited 1st Annual Commemorative Ornaments are still available. They feature Don Troiani’s iconic Heritage Painting of the First Muster. Order Here
All proceeds benefit NGEF. If you are interested in ordering more than two ornaments, please contact Kevin Brown directly rather than filling out the form.