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Replica musket represents warrior heritage

  • Published
  • By Mary McHale
  • AFNORTH Public Affairs
A replica of a 1600-era musket presented to Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) by a member of the organization's Combined Enlisted Association represents one of the earliest forms of homeland defense according to the CONR-1st AF (AFNORTH) commander.

"It's an honor and privilege to accept this musket from the men and women of the Combined Enlisted Association," said Lt. Gen. William Etter, who accepted the musket on behalf of the organization from Senior Master Sgt. Paul Williams of AFNORTH's Communication Directorate. "It's truly one of the first homeland defense weapons."

After the presentation, the musket was placed in a red felt-lined display case in the Killey Center's Heritage Room. Also in the case is a plaque titled "Dedicated to the Spirit of the first Homeland Defenders." It reads, "The first officially recognized militia in North America can be traced to the organization of the Massachusetts Bay Colonies regiments in 1636. The Brown Bess East India Pattern musket was instrumental in the birth of our great nation, securing our American freedoms and protecting our sovereignty. It is a reminder of our enlisted force heritage and a symbol of the spirit of our country's earliest defenders. This musket is a dedication to our nation's military heritage by the Combined Enlisted Association"

Senior Master Sgt. Leroy McCardell, CEA president, reiterated the musket's meaning for the organization.

"The enlisted here at 1st Air Force wanted to present this organization with something to display in the Heritage Room that captured the essence of our mission and personnel being Homeland Defenders in a Total Force environment," he said.  "We felt it would be an honor for our commander to receive the musket on behalf of 1st Air Force since it's not just for our enlisted personnel but for the entire 1st Air Force Family."

The presentation Oct. 10 in the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group auditorium coincided with a visit from Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. James Hotaling, the CONR-1 AF (AFNORTH ) command chief during the project's inception in September 2012. Hotaling was joined on the stage by Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Anderson, the current CONR-1st AF (AFNORTH) Command Chief.

Prior to the presentation, other individuals involved in the project were recognized. They included: Senior Master Sgt. Paul Williams, Master Sgts. Ray Thompson, Todd Stroh, and Tech. Sgt. Marcel Hildebrand, all currently or formerly of AFNORTH's communications directorate; Master Sgt. Richard Kozik, formerly of AFNORTH's Installation & Mission Support Directorate, currently enlisted aide to the Air National Guard Director, Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke ; and Staff Sgt. Amanda Finnigan of the Manpower, Personnel & Services Directorate.

"The Combined Enlisted Association feels it is a magnificent symbol of the spirit of our country's earliest defenders," Stroh said. "It's a reminder to us all of our enlisted force heritage and steadfast readiness for the call to arms in defense of our nation."