November, 12, 2010
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will open a new exhibit, Celebrating the West Virginia National Guard: Service to Our Country . . . Service to Our State,, in the Lobby Gallery of the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. An opening reception to celebrate the show will be held Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the Culture Center beginning at 6 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and the public is invited to attend. Celebrating the West Virginia National Guard will remain on display through Feb. 13.
The evening’s event will include remarks by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Speaker of the House Rick Thompson, Cabinet Secretary of Education and the Arts Kay Goodwin, Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the Division and Major General Allen E. Tackett of the West Virginia National Guard.
In addition, the Plaza Deck of the Culture Center will have a Command Post of the Future, Forward Repair Station, Mini-C-130 and other military equipment on display for the exhibit opening.M
West Virginia has a long history of contributions to the armed forces, with more people enlisting per capita than any other state. The West Virginia Army National Guard has contributed to the national defense in all wars and conflicts the United States has engaged in and has been at or near the top in National Guard strength and readiness for more than 15 years.
The Department of the Army Lineage and Honors records and the United States Army Institute of Heraldry recognizes the 1st Battalion, 201st Field Artillery, as the oldest unit in the United States Army with continuous active service since Feb. 17, 1735. It was originally known as Captain Morgan Morgan’s Company of Volunteer Militia of Orange County, Virginia. While other units were formed well before that time (1635), they did not join the Continental Army in 1775. In addition, the Institute of Heraldry also recognizes the Regiment as the only surviving unit that formed the U.S. Army in 1775.
In addition to their responsibilities and contributions to their country, The National Guard also plays a key role in local communities. The West Virginia National Guard has units stationed in 22 counties that help civilians in natural disasters, including floods, fires and civil emergencies.
The exhibit will have a gallery of photographs of Adjutant Generals, a table commemorating fallen heros, several guidons (standards or flags), some used in Iraq, headgear worn by soldiers from 1952-82, enlisted mens’ and officers’ field chow, World War II-era gas mask and training grenade and an F-86 Saber Pilot uniform from the 1950s.
Other items include a postcard from Italy during World War II, pictures of the 249th Army Band in 1942, base bugle post World War II, M-456-A electrically heated flight suit from World War II, helmet of a Huey crew member in 1980, a Cavalry Stetson and deployment money which still has Saddam Hussein’s picture on it, among others.
For more information about the exhibit Celebrating the West Virginia National Guard: Service to Our Country . . . Service to Our State, contact Charles Morris, director of museums and collections and exhibits manager for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
With the leadership of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, Kay Goodwin, cabinet secretary, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, are located at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Culture Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.