WASHINGTON - A new interactive exhibit that showcases the National Guard’s participation in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom went on display Dec. 6, a week before the National Guard observed its 370th birthday.
More than 100 visitors viewed the National Guard Museum’s OEF/OIF exhibit which displays Guard members’ equipment, uniforms and photographs from the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Officials at the National Guard Association of the United States, where the museum and exhibit are located, hope the exhibit will further the story of the National Guard and its service to the states and nation by catering to the tourists who visit Washington each year.
The NGAUS museum and library already offer a large collection of Guard artifacts and reference materials for visitors. The items are managed and funded by the National Guard Educational Foundation (NGEF) through the Guard association.
“As a museum, we tell the story of the Guard from 1636 to now,” said Jason Hall, director of the NGEF. “Until today, we were lacking a major part of that history: Guardsman in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
But the best part of the opening, Hall said, was to watch the veterans appreciating it. “It’s for them,” he said.
Four Army Guard Soldiers and one Air Guard member donated the items on display. They include a flight suit, flight gloves, G-suit, a flight tunic, a battle dress uniform and boots, and an interactive collection of photographs from Guard units around the country.
“I think it’s very important that we offer a bigger story because the National Guard has such a large role in OEF/OIF,” said Maj. Kenneth Stice who attended the opening with his wife.
Stice’s uniform and boots are displayed in a glass case along with a photo from Iraq where he served with the Arizona Army Guard’s 2220th Transportation Company during its deployment from 2003 to 2004.
“I was proud that they accepted my uniform. It’s a beautiful display,” Stice said. “It gives a better understanding of what we’ve done.”
The granite and glass NGAUS Memorial Building is located on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Capitol Street within sight of the Capitol. Visiting hours are Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. People can contact Jason Hall at email@example.com or 1-888-22NGAUS for special group tours.