Generations of North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Soldiers and Airmen returned to the NCNG Joint Force Headquarters for the 2022 Tarheel Homecoming in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dec. 9, 2022.
Civilian vendors, NCNG staff, and veteran service organizations helped the guests learn more about veteran services and benefits.
“It is great so many organizations are here, it really makes it worthwhile for the veterans to attend,” said Andrea Allard, director of transition services North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The North Carolina National Guard Association also hosted a luncheon welcoming the Korean War Era, Vietnam War, the Cold War, numerous post-Cold War deployments, the Gulf War, and the Global War on Terror veterans.
There was a constant chatter of old friendships reunited and stories told and retold. Hugs, handshakes, smiles, laughter, and a tear or two met many of the participants as they walked along the headquarters’ atrium.
“It is a chance to catch up,” said Army Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, the Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard.
The guests were later invited to the auditorium for a briefing from senior NCNG leaders on North Carolina Army and Air Guard Operations statewide, nationally, and internationally.
It opened with the playing of the national anthem and veterans with service beginning as far back as 1947 stood or saluted.
Briefings and video presentations emphasized the nature of the NCNG as a military operational reserve using the most up-to-date equipment and training. Also, as a critical component of State disaster response, real-world cyber threats, and other state missions.
“Our focus is warfighting and protecting the state,” said Hunt.
The briefing’s goal was twofold: to highlight the Guard’s successes and to inform the retirees and former Soldiers and Airmen so they can share the information in their communities where they are leaders.
“It helps when you (veterans) go out into the community and help recruit Soldiers and Airmen,” said Hunt.
There was a break to cut a birthday cake in honor of the National Guard founding on December 13, 1636, with the two oldest veterans in attendance joining the youngest Soldier serving at the headquarters cutting the cake with an Army ceremonial sword.
Throughout the day, members of the NCNG Museum staff encouraged the veterans to volunteer at the museum or tell their story for history.
“I got to see more women earn higher rank (over her 30-year military career),” said retired Army Staff Sgt. Doris Williams, a Desert Storm veteran with the NCNG’s Rear Area Operations Support Center.
The event ended with a tour of the future NCNG museum, dedicated earlier this year.
“I learned more Guard history from them (museum staff) than I did in my career,” said retired chaplain Army Maj. Melissa Culbreth, an Iraq War veteran and volunteer at the museum.
The NCNG in 2022 deployed multiple units for federal missions in Europe, the Middle East, and Antarctica, and provided on state orders for 560 Soldiers and Airmen for 9,355 man-days of State Active Duty.
|Date Posted:||12.16.2022 17:11|
|Location:||RALEIGH, NC, US|
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