Utah National Guard Hosts

Governor's Day 2008

at Rice-Eccles Stadium

 

By Major Krista DeAngelis

and Private Rebecca Hansen

 

Published September 17, 2008

 

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Utah National Guard Soldiers gather outside Rice-Eccles Stadium prior to the Governor's Day parade Sept. 13.

Photo by Sgt. Chris Gardner

Utah National Guard Soldiers gather outside Rice-Eccles

Stadium prior to the Governor's Day parade Sept. 13.

SALT LAKE CITY — A sea of military uniforms filled the University of Utah’s football field Sept.13 as thousands of Soldiers and Airmen marched into Rice-Eccles Stadium for the 2008 Governor’s Day parade of the Utah National Guard.

With AH-64 Apache helicopter and KC-135 Stratotanker flyovers, the 23rd Army Band and cannon fire provided by I Corps Artillery, the audience cheered as members of the Utah Army and Air National Guard paraded around the stadium for the annual event.

Since World War I, the Utah Guard has held Governor’s Day to provide an annual forum for the commander in chief to fulfill his statutory requirement to review his troops. For decades this parade has been held at Camp Williams, but due to construction along Redwood Road the event was moved this year to the the University of Utah campus.

Staff Sgt. Chandler Scovil, 151st Air Refueling Wing, holds his unit's colors as Soldiers and Airmen stand in formation during the Governor's Day parade.

Photo by Spc. Samantha Xanthos

Staff Sgt. Chandler Scovil, 151st Air Refueling Wing, holds his unit's colors as Soldiers and Airmen stand in formation during the Governor's Day parade.

As one who has seen dozens of Governor’s Days at Camp Williams, Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, thought the change in location for this year was a good move.

“I think it worked out great [at Rice-Eccles],” he said. “It’s a great venue and was easy to get to. With the road construction out at Camp Williams it was very problematic to get out there.”

While Governor’s Day was originally organized to kick off the Utah National Guard’s Summer Camp, as Annual Training was known decades ago, it has evolved into a family event to recognize the dedication of Utah military members and their families. 

During his speech to the troops, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman expressed his appreciation for Guard members and their loved ones.

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, left, and Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet render a salute during the playing of the National Anthem.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Monson

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, left, and Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet

render a salute during the playing of the National Anthem.

“Today is your day; this is your family’s day,” he said. “This is the reminder of the price we pay for freedom and Liberty. You are very special people with very remarkable families and we are reminded of them this day.”

“You are called upon locally, you are called upon nationally, and you are called upon internationally,” Huntsman continued. “You have great versatility in terms of what you offer. It is from humanitarian work to combat, from fighting fires to literally being the great role models in your individual communities.”

Although the governor himself typically figures prominently in the day’s events as presiding officer and speaker, it’s not the reason Huntsman enjoys the festivities. 

“I love Governor’s Day, not because it’s named for the governor . . . but because it is a day where we recognize all of our Soldiers and their families,” said Huntsman. “Life’s greatest honor is to serve with the men and women in uniform.”

Members of the Utah Air National Guard pass in review at Rice-Eccles Stadium Sept. 13.

Photo by Lt. Col. Hank McIntire

Members of the Utah Air National Guard pass

in review at Rice-Eccles Stadium Sept. 13.

In his remarks Huntsman indicated that the Guard has achieved many milestones this past year, including one Silver Star, 21 Bronze Stars, 10 Purple Hearts, and currently has more than 600 members deployed around the world.

During the ceremony Huntsman presented unit and individual service awards and decorations, and he recognized the top Airmen and Soldiers of the year:

Joint Meritorious Unit Awards

  • 116th Engineer Company, currently commanded by Capt. Todd Christensen

  • First Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, led by Lt. Col. James Bledsoe.

Legion of Merit

  • Colonel. Matt Clark, Joint Forces Headquarters

  • Master Sgt. Scott Hansen, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Master Sgt. Scott Hansen, 19th Special Forces Group, right, receives the Legion of Merit from Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Photo by Lt. Col. Hank McIntire

Master Sgt. Scott Hansen, 19th Special Forces Group, right,

receives the Legion of Merit from Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Bronze Star

  • Master Sgt. Miguel Jimenez, 640th Regiment Regional Training Institute

Purple Heart

  • Master Sgt. Scott Hansen, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

 

Top Soldiers 

 

  • Soldier of the Year, Specialist Jeremy Whipple, 1-211th Aviation

  • Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Butler, 640th Regiment Regional Training Institute

  • First Sergeant of the Year, 1st Sgt. Eric Anderson, 141st Military Intelligence Battalion

Soldiers of the Utah Army National Guard present the guidons of their units at Governor's Day.

Photo by SPC Samantha Xanthos

Soldiers of the Utah Army National Guard

present the guidons of their units at Governor's Day.

Top Airmen

  • Airman of the Year, Senior Airman Michael Crosby, 169th Intelligence Squadron

  • Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Lauritzen, 169th Intelligence Squadron

  • Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year,  Master Sgt. Regina Campbell, 151st Operations Group

  • First Sergeant of the Year, Senior Master Sgt. Steven Schiele, 151st Mission Support Group

Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Butler was selected for Utah NCO of the Year for the Utah Army Guard and was very humbled by the selection.

“I’ve been in the Guard for 18 years. I love serving in the military and serving my country,” she said. “Receiving this award is a humbling experience. I never expected it.” 

The forces of the Utah National Guard are arrayed on the field  at Rice-Eccles Stadium Sept. 13 for Governor's Day.

Photo by TSgt Mike Evans

The forces of the Utah National Guard are arrayed on the

field  at Rice-Eccles Stadium Sept. 13 for Governor's Day.

Senior Master Sgt. Steven Schiele, who has been in the military for nearly 30 years, currently serving as the 151st Mission Support Group’s first sergeant, received the award for the Utah Air Guard’s First Sergeant of the Year.

“This award is really a combination of serving as a first sergeant, and being noted for taking care of people,” he explained. The first sergeant’s main purpose is taking care of the unit’s enlisted personnel.

When announcer Master Sgt. Sterling Poulson declared the formal end to the parade, Guard members and their families were able to enjoy the many activities, booths, equipment displays, food court, and music provided by Family Programs and local vendors as a thank-you for all the hard work and effort put forth by Airmen, Soldiers and families.

“[Governor’s Day] was pulled off with military precision,” said Huntsman, summing up the day’s events. “I was very impressed.”

Two KC-135R Stratotankers fly over Rice-Eccles Stadium Sept. 13, one of the highlights of the festivities to celebrate Governor's Day.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Monson

Two KC-135R Stratotankers fly over Rice-Eccles Stadium Sept. 13,

one of the highlights of the festivities to celebrate Governor's Day.

Soldiers of the Utah Army Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion and the Airmen of the 191st Air Refueling Squadron at Governor's Day.

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mike Evans

Soldiers of the Utah Army Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion and the Airmen of the 191st Air Refueling Squadron at Governor's Day.