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AUSA chapter members honor National Guard and its soldiers

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Thompson, operations and intelligence NCO, 111th Ordnance Group, Alabama Army National Guard, and a recipient of the Soldier’s Medal, spoke about the career opportunities in the guard. (Photo by Bryan Bacon)

For 381 years, the National Guard has protected the United States – even before those states united.

The National Guard celebrated its history and commitment to service Dec. 13 with a 381th birthday breakfast at the Jackson Center, hosted by the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army.

National Guard soldiers, National Guard retirees, Redstone Arsenal leadership and local officials attended the annual event honoring the National Guard’s integral role in the armed services.

“It is critical that we recognize it is the Total Army that defends our country every day,” AUSA board member retired Col. Bill Marks said.

On Dec. 13, 1636, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts, based on an order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court. The date marks the beginning of the organized militia, and the beginning of the National Guard’s oldest organized units.

Some 13,000 soldiers are members of the Alabama Army National Guard making it the fifth largest National Guard in the nation.

“Since 9/11, almost every guard and reserve unit has been mobilized, some several times,” John Perry, AUSA chapter vice president for National Guard and Reserve Affairs, said.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Thompson served as keynote speaker for the event.

Thompson is a noncommissioned officer with operations/intelligence for the 111th Ordnance Group, Army National Guard.

He received the Soldier’s Medal for helping save a man from a burning car after a traffic accident in 2013. The Soldier’s Medal is awarded to individuals who perform a heroic act that puts their life at risk, but does not involve conflict with an enemy.

He was inducted into the Madison County Military Hall of Heroes in 2014.

Thompson spoke about his career path and how a boy raised by a single mom on a farm in Lincoln County, Tenn., became an intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan in 2002-03, in the wake of the attacks of 9/11.

He talked about the opportunities the National Guard has given him and how those opportunities bring responsibility.

“I hope we are teaching the generations that come behind us the importance of history, patriotism and love of country,” Thompson said.