Kentucky Guard celebrates 221 years of service to Commonwealth

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

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Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Adams III is joined by commanders of Kentucky’s major unit commands in cutting a cake in honor of the Kentucky Guard’s 221st anniversary during a celebration in Frankfort, Ky., June 24, 2013. The Kentucky Militia was formed on this day in 1792 by Gov. Isaac Shelby. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — In a proclamation from Gov. Steve Beshear, the Kentucky National Guard celebrated more than two centuries of service to the Commonwealth and the nation, June 24, 2013 at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky.

“I feel privileged to get to stand here today and help celebrate our organization,” said Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Adams III, Chief of the Joint Staff. “The Kentucky National Guard continues its service to the nation, just has it has for over two hundred and twenty years.  Whether to help a neighbor in need down the road or to defend our nation around the world, the Citizen-Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard offer their time, their skills, and dedication.”

For more photos of the celebration, click here.

The Kentucky Militia, the forerunner of the Kentucky National Guard, was formed on June 24th, 1792 by Gov. Isaac Shelby, 221 years ago.

On this Kentucky National Guard Day, a large group of Guardsmen, retirees, family and friends gathered to hear the proclamation and enjoy a piece of a large birthday cake. Adams was assisted by commanders of major unit commands in the state for the ceremonial cutting of the cake. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was also on hand to show her support.

The National Guard Association of Kentucky sponsored the celebration on Monday and helped honor the state’s organization and its contribution over the last 221 years.

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The proclamation from Gov. Steve Beshear recognizing June 24, 2013 as Kentucky National Guard Day in the Commonwealth. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The Kentucky National Guard, like other state National Guards, has been known under various names such as state militia, state guard. It has the distinction of being one of the oldest military forces in the United States. Its history dates back to 1775, when Kentucky was known as Fincastle County, a part of western Virginia. The fundamental concept of a state or local Military organization has existed since 1636, when the Colony of Massachusetts formed a regiment of “Trained Bands.”Guardsmen of Kentucky have been involved in every major U.S. conflict since its inception with its men and women on the front lines in the War of 1812 through the Global War on Terror.

Throughout the crowd, the old and the young, the feeling of tradition and awe were the same.

“It’s hard to believe that you are a member of an organization that is over 200 years old,” said Sgt. Ben DiPalma, a veteran of Operation New Dawn. “I am very proud to be a part of it.”

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