The Citizen-Soldier in WWII Gallery Opening

WWII Gallery Opening

L to R, 29th Infantry Division, Company C/175th Infantry Regiment Steven Melnikoff; MG Deborah A. Ashenhurst, TAG OH, Chairwoman of the Board, NGAUS; 29th Infantry Division, 224th Field Artillery Battalion Walter Heline; MG (ret.) Gus Hargett, President, NGAUS.

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, almost two years of hard work came to fruition when Major General Deborah A. Ashenhurst (TAG OH) cut the ribbon opening the National Guard Museum’s newly renovated “Citizen-Soldier in WWII” Gallery.

The gallery opening was designed to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the Allied D-Day landing on June 6, 1944, in northern France. By successfully creating a new front, the Allies were able to mark the beginning of the end for the world domination goals of Germany’s Third Reich. World War II marked the first time the National Guard of the United States entered into international warfare across the Globe with all eighteen divisions. The new Gallery tells the story of the National Guard contributions to that war through individual artifacts and accomplishments.

The previous gallery successfully told the story through representative artifacts, an audio rendition and a thorough discussion of all theaters of war. The new gallery seeks to tell the story through individual Guardsmen who were present and through their personal artifacts – from that perspective, then, it proceeds to illustrate the conflict as a whole. Included are jackets from the Bataan Death March, a camera used to photograph Hiroshima following the dropping of the atomic bomb, a pistol used at the liberation of the Dachau Camp and the medals worn by an injured soldier in North Africa. The individual stories weave a tapestry of the greater tale. Every Infantry Division that participated is represented – not one is left out.

Along with added emphasis on the initial Mobilization of September, 1940 and such events as the Bataan Death March and the D-Day landing, the entire Guard story is told through the gallery’s centerpiece: An interactive, multi-slide global map projected on a four foot long table. The presentation includes interactive control buttons to show the Guard story chronologically, geographically and numerically. Literally, the visitor can learn the entire narrative at the touch of a finger.
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