FRANKFORT Ky. –
The names of 13 fallen Soldiers were added to the Kentucky National Guard Memorial during a ceremony here Monday, recognizing their ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom.
Those 13 Soldiers now join the ranks of 273 other Soldiers and Airmen from the Kentucky National Guard who have perished in the line of duty since 1912, according to Benjamin F. Adams III, chairman of the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund Inc. All are memorialized on the monument’s black granite slabs at Boone National Guard Center here.
Of the 13 troops being added this year, 11 were killed during World War I, one in 1935 during weekend training, and another in 2001 just prior to 9/11, Adams said.
More than 100 family, friends, civic leaders, military members and retirees attended the solemn Memorial Day observance, which was punctuated by canon fire from the Kentucky Army Guard’s 138th Field Artillery Brigade and a C-130 Hercules flyover performed by aircrew from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing.
“These Soldiers represent the very best of Kentucky and America,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in addressing the audience. “Today is for the Kentuckians who gave everything so that we can enjoy the freedom and liberty granted to us as Americans.
“As we mark a day where we remember those we lost fighting for our freedoms, the names of 13 more fallen Soldiers will be added to the Kentucky National Guard Memorial, where they will join 273 others. Those are 286 families that are still hurting regardless of the time that is lapsed. And to those families, we are sorry. We are proud of the service that your sons, daughters, brothers and sisters provided to the Commonwealth. We hope that we can live up to their sacrifice in the things we do for one another very single day.
“We must continue to hold up these heroes in our hearts and in our lives,” Beshear continued. “Let us recommit to honoring all of our Kentucky heroes while working together to create a more perfect union.”
Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Wilkinson, assistant adjutant general for Air, also spoke at the event, noting that more than 1.275 million Americans have died in armed conflict throughout the nation’s history.
“We honor their dedication, courage and sacrifice,” Wilkinson said. “But why must there be sacrifice? Why is this a consequence inflicted upon those who serve? The answer is simple, but sharp: Liberty is not freely gained or preserved.
“Soldiers and Airmen in the National Guard know this sacrifice. Not only do they train to fight and win our nation's wars, but they are called upon when disasters strike the homeland, willingly putting themselves in harm's way to keep members of their communities safe and secure. Members of the National Guard have served in militias and fought in America's wars since the 1500s in Spanish Florida. More recently, since the attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001, nearly 7,000 American service members have died in the War on Terror in places like Iraq in Afghanistan. Many of those were members of the National Guard.
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of a Kentucky Air National guard plane crash in Evansville, Indiana, in which five aircrew members perished when their C-130 Hercules lost air speed and plunged into a hotel and restaurant, killing an additional 11 Americans on the ground,” Wilkinson noted.
“The airmen who lost their lives — all from the 123rd Airlift Wing — were Maj. Richard Strang, Capt. Warren Klingaman, Lt. Vincent Yancar, Master Sgt. William Hawkins and Master Sgt. John Medley. These five valiant patriots join 17 other Americans from the Kentucky Air National Guard who have died in the line of duty dating from 1948 to 2002.
“Memorial day is a vivid reminder of the price that has been paid for our liberty,” he continued. “It is also an appropriate time to reflect on the burden shared by those left behind and the impact of the loss on our families, workplaces and communities. So on this Memorial day, never forget. Think about those who have died. Because those who fought for us — who fought for our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness — would be honored that we celebrate all the things their sacrifice left us.”
In announcing the identities of the 13 Soldiers whose names were added to the monument this year, Adams said the memorial was built to ensure Kentucky’s fallen are never forgotten.
“Many of our fallen died on foreign battlefields, some on missions here in Kentucky to protect their fellow citizens from danger and disaster, while others perished in accidents while training to accomplish their missions,” said Adams, a retired Army brigadier general and former assistant adjutant general for Army in the Kentucky National Guard.
“Regardless of their circumstances, each took an oath to serve our nation and communities, to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic, and died in the line of duty, fulfilling that sacred vow. Today we remember and honor all their sacrifices.”
Added to the monument this year:
- 1st Lt. Lyman E. Barnes Jr., 25, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, died of pneumonia while serving on federal active duty in La Harve, France, on Oct. 19, 1918, shortly after his unit, the 138th Field Artillery Regiment, 38th Division, arrived in France.
- Staff Sgt. Michael W. Brame, 35, of Greenville, Kentucky, died of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on KY Hwy 181 at the Western Kentucky Parkway on Feb. 2, 2001, while returning to the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center. Brame was a full-time military technician working at the Unit Equipment Training Site #2 as a mechanic. He was a 16-year veteran of the Kentucky Army National Guard.
- Pfc. Harry G. Brock, 21, of Sanders, Kentucky, died of an intestinal obstruction while serving on federal active duty at Camp Zachary Taylor Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sep. 2, 1917. Brock was a member of Company L, 159th Infantry.
- Cpl. George T. Crum, 27, of Louisville, Kentucky, died of pneumonia while on federal active duty in Liverpool, England, Oct. 20, 1918. Crum was a member of Battery E, 138th Field Artillery Regiment.
- Cpl. David K. Gaither, 20, of Louisville, Kentucky, died of injuries sustained in a military non-tactical motor vehicle accident 12 miles south of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on Dixie Highway, Jan. 13, 1935, while in Title 32 drill status. Gaither was a member of Headquarters Battery, 63rd Field Artillery.
- Pvt. James Gemble, 27, of Louisville, Kentucky, died of pneumonia Dec. 18, 1918, while serving on federal active duty in France. Gemble was a member of Battery F, 138th Field Artillery Regiment.
- Pvt. Henry W. Graham, 19, of Louisville, Kentucky, died of pyemia as a result of pneumonia on July 2, 1917, while serving on federal active duty in Louisville City Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky. Graham was a member of Company E, 1st Kentucky Infantry.
- Pvt. Joseph W. McCain, 18, of Louisville, Kentucky, died April 29, 1917, at Louisville City Hospital following emergency surgery for a rifle wound to the abdomen, the result of an accidental discharge in the Louisville Armory guard room sleeping quarters. McCain, a member of Company A, 1st Kentucky Infantry, was serving on federal active duty at the time of his death.
- Pvt. Peter S. McGary, 28, of McQuady, Kentucky, died of pneumonia while on federal active duty in Liverpool, England, Oct. 22, 1918. McGary was a member of Supply Company, 138th Field Artillery Regiment.
- Pvt. Louis B. Neagli, 21, of Louisville, Kentucky, died May 14, 1917, at Louisville City Hospital following emergency surgery for a rifle wound to his thigh, the result of an accidental discharge. Neagli, a member of Company I, 1st Kentucky Infantry, was serving on federal active duty at the time of his death.
- Sgt. Robert M. Rowlett, 28, of Winchester, Kentucky, died of spinal meningitis Dec. 7, 1917, at the Camp Shelby Hospital in Mississippi. Rowlett, a member of the 2nd Company Horse Section, 113th Ammunition Train, was serving on federal active duty at the time of his death.
- Pvt. Charles F. Vandergrifft, 23, of Louisville, Kentucky, died of pneumonia while on federal active duty in Liverpool, England, Oct. 16, 1918. Vandergrifft was a member of the Veterinary Detachment, 138th Field Artillery Regiment.
- Pvt. Walter Weck, 20, of Louisville, Kentucky, died of pneumonia while on federal active duty in Liverpool, England, Oct. 19, 1918. Weck was a member of Supply Company, 138th Field Artillery Regiment.