Guard faces of Derby 139

Photos by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

LOUISVILLE, KY. — For the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, more than 250 members of the Kentucky National Guard were called in to assist local authorities in the various assignments inside and out of Churchill Downs. ¬†These are the faces of those Citizen Soldiers and Airmen ….


Pfc. Evelyn Holbrook of the 617th Military Police Co. worked gate 1 of Churchill Downs where she was among the first Soldiers spectators met as they entered the track. “The work was repetitive, but¬† it was nice that so many people thanked us for being there and for our service,” she said.


Pfc. Shalah Barnes of the 940th Military Police Co. secured a gate along the backstretch of the track where the horses came and went. It was her first Derby, and she pulled double duty as security and as a medic.


Spc. TJ Burnett (left) and Pfc. Heath Good, both of the 617th Military Police Co. stood guard over the Kentucky Derby Trophy in the winner’s circle inside the track. In addition to the priceless trophy awarded to the winning horse’s owner, three smaller silver replicas are presented to the trainer, jockey and breeder.


Spc. Ashley Minix of the 198th Military Police Co. used a metal-detecting wand to ensure spectators did not bring any restricted items into Churchill Downs. It was the first year the Guardsmen used the wands as part of the security at gates.


Chief Master Sgt. Ray Dawson of the 123rd Airlift Wing marched the winner’s circle detail out to its location prior to the running of the Derby. “The detail’s job is all about being professional and representing the whole Kentucky National Guard in front of everyone,” he said.


Airman 1st Class Jordan Pate of the 123rd Airlift Wing helped carry the garland of roses to the winner’s circle in preparation for the winning horse’s arrival. The garland is made up of more than 400 roses and weighs approximately 40 pounds.


Pvt. Ashley Burris of the 2113th Transportation Company assisted in roping off the winner’s circle to keep the area clear before the Kentucky Derby. While the rains came down most of the day, the skies cleared just prior to the race and stayed dry until shortly after.


Sgt. Christopher King of the 198th Military Police Battalion carefully assisted Kentucky Derby Museum Curator, Chris Goodlett in removing the trophies from the winner’s circle following the presentation. King was one of five Soldiers chosen for the elite detail that guards the trophies from the clubhouse to the winner’s circle.


Spc. Ryan Hayes of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade stood his ground in the onslaught of media that crowded the winner’s circle and the trophy presentation behind him.


Before leaving the winner’s circle, Airmen of the 123rd Airlift Wing share a smile and a few roses following a job well done.

Click here to read more about how your Kentucky National Guard supported the 139th Kentucky Derby!

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