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NEWS | Feb. 16, 2024

Retired Guardsman donates missing KY National Guard magazines

By Andy Dickson, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

In January 2024, a retired public affairs officer donated forgotten pieces of Kentucky’s military history to the Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office in Frankfort.

Retired Army Col. Tom Little was preparing his belongings for a move into a new home when he came across his old military documents. Among those documents were copies of previously published issues of The Kentucky Guardsmen and The Bluegrass Guard. These printed newsletters were under his responsibility when he served as the commander of the 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) during the 1970s and 1980s.

“To tell you the truth, they were in the bottom of a cabinet,” laughed Little. “And as we were preparing to move, I came across them, remembering some of those times and some of those people. We don’t have the space to take those with us and decided to find them a new home.”

Little, the former director of Kentucky Army National Guard personnel, donated 37 issues in all; 33 of which had been lost to time in the archives and never digitized until now.

The collection, dated between May 1976 and Feb. 1986, was kept stacked, which preserved the paper in excellent condition, ready to be scanned in a high resolution for digital archiving.

“These are the issues that were important to me, that are memorable,” said Little. “There are some from overseas deployments, and I suspect there aren’t many of these copies around since they go back to the 70s and the 80s, mostly.

“It’s a great opportunity to share those with people who were around at that time and even their children, who may not have had the exposure to what their family was doing at that time in the military.”

Little kept many of the issues, not just for his memories, but also for the memories of those he served with. For example, Little recalled a story of a public affairs specialist who wrote an article on his own father.

“I remember the retirement story of [Army] Col. Tom Murphy, a wonderful Soldier and great chief of staff,” Little said. “His son, [Sgt. 1st Class] Tom Murphy, was in the detachment for many years and wrote that story. I told him what I was going to do with those issues, and he said, ‘I don’t even remember that issue, I don’t recall seeing it.’

“Well, I told him it’s finally going to be online where he can get a chance to see it. He was really pleased to know that.”

According to Little, the layout and printing of each of these issues were meticulously done by hand. Photos and articles were scissor-cut to fit on the front and back of an 11-inch by 17-inch sheet of paper and pasted in place. The process took between four to six hours and was complete in a single drill weekend.

The MPAD was responsible for producing one issue each month and have it distributed to the Guardsmen across Kentucky.

Little hopes that getting the collection posted in an online format will help former Guardsmen find the stories that relate to them.

The archive featuring the newly added collection alongside other issues of The Bluegrass Guard is now available on the Kentucky National Guard’s website, at:

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