Utah Governor reviews and praises Utah Guard during annual parade

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emily Hoferitza and Airman 1st Class Lillian Chatwin
  • 151st ARW/PA
 Approximately 6,500 Utah Air and Army Guardsmen marched in a parade during the 56th Annual Governor's Family Day event at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah September 19.

In observance of this time-honored military tradition, nearly 20 Air Force squadrons and more than 70 Army battalions lined up across the football field for review and inspection by Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, the Adjutant General of Utah, and Brig. Gen. Michael R. Liechty, commander, Utah NG Land Component Command.

In his address to the troops, Gov. Herbert said the brigades were an awesome sight and that he felt honored to be at the event. He also extended his gratitude towards the Utah National Guard.

"As Utahans and as Americans, we cannot, and we will not forget the sacrifice that you and your families make to support the mission of the National Guard," said Gov. Herbert in his address.

In a reception following the parade, Gov. Herbert elaborated on this message.

"We can't thank you enough," said Gov. Herbert. "I know the importance of military service. It is something that we as Utahans and as Americans appreciate, and sometimes take too much for granted. We need to make sure that you have the equipment, the training and the leadership to be successful wherever you are deployed."

Gov. Herbert, who served as a member of the Army National Guard from 1970 to 1976 and achieved the rank of staff sergeant, said he feels like a part of the group again.

"I feel like I've been activated again - now as Commander in Chief," said Gov. Herbert. "It's an honor I don't take lightly. I know we have such wonderful men and women here serving, and to be numbered amongst their ranks is a terrific honor - really one of the greatest honors I've ever received."

Several outstanding Airmen and units were recognized at the Governor's Day celebration.

Alyssa Brown, daughter of Master Sgt. Mike Brown of the 109th Air Control Squadron, was recognized for her 2009 Air National Guard Youth of the Year Award.

Senior Airman Nisha Hood was awarded the Outstanding Airman of the Year.

Master Sgt. Mario Z. Reeve and Master Sgt. Burke Baker were awarded the Outstanding Noncommissioned Officers of the Year.

Master Sgt. Dwight G. Christensen was awarded the Outstanding 1st Sergeant of the Year.

The 151st Security Forces Squadron was given the Outstanding Unit Award for outstanding dedication to mission accomplishment, and for providing superior force protection and law enforcement to deployed locations worldwide.

Additionally, the 299th Range Control Squadron "Clover Control" flag was ceremonially retired after 40 years of service in the Utah ANG.

Following the parade and ceremony, Guardsmen and their families enjoyed several fun activities, static displays and food booths.

Master Sgt. Lamar Pearce, from the 130th Engineering and Installations Squadron, who was with his family at the parade, said that Governor's Day is a good chance for the troops to see the governor, reinforce military traditions and he's glad to be a part of it.

Sergeant Pearce's wife, Loralie Pearce, said she enjoyed seeing the Airmen in their blues, and that it was fun for the kids to see their dad march in the parade.

Bill Dunlap of Sandy, Utah, an Army veteran of 42 years, expressed his gratitude to the National Guardsmen.

"I commanded a National Guard unit in Vietnam," said Dunlap. "I believe our strength, in our strong national defense, would not be there without the Citizen Soldier. We could not have withstood the assaults that we've had otherwise. It's that simple."