November 14, 2005

Warner awards Governor's National Service Medal

Governor Mark R. Warner honored 40 members of the Virginia National Guard with the Governor's National Service Medal on Nov. 11, 2005 in a ceremony held at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond . (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs Office)

RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner honored 40 members of the Virginia National Guard with the Governor's National Service Medal on Nov. 11, 2005. The new state award was created to recognize the service of the men and women of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard called to active federal service since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Governor also presented medals to the families of three soldiers who lost their lives while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The presentations were made at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

More than 4,535 soldiers and 1,085 airmen of the Virginia National Guard have served in support of the Stabilization Force mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The majority of these personnel will receive the medal from their unit commanders at future events.

"This medal recognizes the service of these soldiers and airmen, as well as the many sacrifices they and their families have made in service to their Commonwealth and country since the terror attacks of 9/11," Governor Warner said.  "With their unique dual role of serving Virginia and the nation, we all owe the men and women of the Virginia National Guard our appreciation, and the Governor's National Service Medal honors this commitment today and for years to come."

Governor Warner directed the creation of the award so that he and future governors may publicly acknowledge the sacrifice and patriotism of the men and women of the Virginia National Guard who serve not only under the command of the governor but who also serve in an active federal status.

Governor Warner, Commander-in-Chief of the Virginia National Guard, presented the Governor's National Service Medal to 40 soldiers and airmen of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard who have served on active duty in support of the Stabilization Force mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Medals also were presented by Governor Warner on behalf of the Commonwealth to the families of  Sgt. Nicholas Mason and Sgt. David Ruhren, killed December 21, 2004 in Iraq, and Staff Sgt. Craig Cherry, killed August 7, 2004 in Afghanistan.

The front side of the medal features the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, along with the words "VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD" and "FOR COMMONWEALTH AND COUNTRY," while the reverse features a dogwood blossom and the words "GOVERNOR'S NATIONAL SERVICE MEDAL." The ribbon and drape consist of a band of solid blue, and a band of red and white stripes, to symbolize the Virginia and United States flags.

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