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NEWS | Aug. 3, 2023

Kentucky National Guard honors U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers in armory renaming

By Capt. Cody Stagner, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

The Kentucky National Guard bestowed one of the highest honors it can grant on U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, renaming the Monticello armory in his honor on July 24, 2023. 
Only a handful of the 54 National Guard facilities throughout the Commonwealth carry an individual's name, making the tribute particularly significant.

"Today we're recognizing a further legacy for the Kentucky National Guard and this [firing] battery in particular," said Maj. Gen. Haldane B. Lamberton, Adjutant General of the Kentucky National Guard. "It's not only reflective of their service and their commitment to our organization, but the uniqueness of that unit in particular." 

Rogers responded to the tribute in his honor with deep gratitude and reflected on his early memories of serving in the Kentucky Guard.  

"This is where the early foundation of my public service was laid," he shared. "I remember putting that uniform on for the first time and realizing that, ‘Hey, I am part of something much bigger than an individual. Now this is public service.’” 

Rogers began his service to Kentucky in 1955 at the old Monticello armory building on Kendrick Avenue, serving under Battery C, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery. Today, the armory has a new address on North Main Street and is now home to Battery B. Notably, both Batteries C and B have had tenures at this North Main Street location. 

The distinction of having an armory named after an individual, Lamberton explained, "comes down to one of two things: you must have served in the Kentucky National Guard with distinction, or, if you are a civilian, you must have had some significant impact that was beneficial to the Kentucky National Guard." 

Rogers' impact extends far beyond his military service.  

"We know the impact he's had on our region,” said Rocky Adkins, Senior Advisor to Governor Andy Beshear and guest speaker at the ceremony. “Everything from flood protection to economic development, to infrastructure, to the attack on a pandemic of drug-issue addiction throughout our region, the PRIDE initiative to clean up our region, and so many, many more.” 

Adkins, a former representative of the 99th District of the Kentucky House, shares Rogers’ commitment to improving Eastern Kentucky lives. 

“We not only have somebody that's [in Washington D.C.] representing us, but we have somebody there of influence who cares; who's making a difference. So, I'm not only honored to be here in an official capacity, I'm honored to see something so significant, long-lasting, for generations to come, in Hal’s community,” said Adkins. 

In his 22nd term representing Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District, Rogers has never forgotten his roots in the Guard. “When you join the National Guard, you are doing something beyond yourself," Rogers said. "You're thinking of others and being a member of a group that is dedicated to helping your neighbors.” 

As he accepted the honor, Rogers gave thanks to the National Guard and those present. "I couldn’t be more thankful and proud of this high honor. I hope I can live up to it. But I appreciate your being here. I appreciate the Guard taking over and running the show. Thank you so much, I stand in honor of you, and we want to see this Battery go even further.”  

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