Feb. 8, 2012
Fort Pickett dedicates National Guard proposed museum
By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs
FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard Historical Society dedicated the first portion of the Virginia National Guard and Fort Pickett proposed museum Feb. 3 in the old post headquarters building on Fort Pickett. The dedication of the proposed museum symbolizes more than thirty years of dedication of those interested in sharing the long history of the state force with Soldiers, Airmen and other visitors.
The Virginia National Guard Historical Society dedicated the first portion of the Virginia National Guard and Fort Pickett proposed museum Feb. 3 in the old post headquarters building on Fort Pickett. The dedication of the proposed museum represented more than thirty years of dedication of those interested in sharing the long history of the state force with Soldiers, Airmen and other visitors. (Photo Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)
Click HERE to see more photos on Flickr.
“We are here today to dedicate the beginning of an endeavor, and then build upon it to educate the public and our own Soldiers of the rich history of the Virginia National Guard,” said Col. Tom Wilkinson, Fort Pickett Commander. “The display area will eventually tell the story of the commonwealth’s citizen-Soldiers from 1607 to today; highlighting the roles played by the Virginia Defense Force, the Air National Guard and the Virginia Army National Guard.”
“This is a great opportunity, not only for us, but for men and women who visit Fort Pickett to see what the Virginia Guard’s history is like; what our great heritage is like,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., Adjutant General of Virginia. “It is a great time for us to be at in our history; we have a great history and a great legacy that we are all proud of.”
The portion of the proposed museum dedicated focuses on the role the Virginia Guard has played in protecting the Commonwealth and its federal role in the Global War on Terror following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
“The Virginia Guard is 404 years old, what this first exhibit shows is just our last ten years since 9/11,” said John Listman, caretaker of the proposed museum. “It is certainly not complete, but we tried to touch on as many aspects as we could. We covered the Air Guard, the Army Guard and the Virginia Defense Force.”
The current site of the historical display area is in the original Fort Pickett headquarters building. The building served as the post headquarters in 1942 and has since served many purposes in its long life on the post.
“It is fitting that we dedicate this building as the future site of our museum, as it is historical in its own right,” said Wilkinson. “We want to restore it back to the way it looked in 1942, which was a camouflage paint color.”
The exhibit also included a U.S. flag that was carried by the Virginia Guard during the Mexican—American War more than 164 years ago. The flag is poor shape now, but the historical society has hopes to have it restored to its original condition in time.
“The flag was carried by Soldiers of our regiment in Mexico, another war far away,” said Listman. “We really see it as a centerpiece for our future museum plan.”
Once complete, the museum will afford the public a place to share in the stories of the Virginia Guard’s illustrious past. In addition to the National Guard history, the museum will have an area that highlights the history of Fort Pickett and the many changes it has gone through since its inception 70 years ago.
In 2010, the Virginia National Guard Historical Society was formed and is a private organization formed under the provisions of Section 501(c) (3)of the Internal Revenue Code and is licensed to operate on Fort Pickett. The society functions to support the planned museum through profits generated by the operation of a gift shop that will be located within the museum and through contributor donations and fund-raising activities.