Utah National Guard Hosts

 Governors Day 2005

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published September 22, 2005

       

Two KC-135 aircraft from the Utah Air National Guard fly over the parade field at Governor's Day Sept. 10.

Photo by Spc. Chris Gardner

Two KC-135 aircraft from the Utah Air National Guard fly over the parade field at Governor's Day Sept. 10.

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah — Governor’s Day 2005, an annual event sponsored by the Utah National Guard at Camp Williams, had a few never-before-seen twists Sept. 10.

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., presided over the event for the first time, which not only featured the traditional military parade and tributes to deployed Soldiers and their families but also included dozens of guests from Louisiana who were being sheltered at the post as Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

Huntsman spoke to Soldiers, Airmen and Guard families for the first time as the Utah National Guard’s commander in chief and praised them for their service and sacrifice during a time of many challenges at home and abroad.

“You who wear the uniform today have stepped up, and I thank you as your governor for what you have done,” Huntsman said.

“I have learned to respect and love those who wear the uniform of the armed forces. And I also admire and respect the families of those who sometimes are left behind. It is those individuals whom I and your first lady, Mary Kaye, salute here as well today,” Huntsman added.

During the program which featured music from the Utah Guard’s 23rd Army Band, led by Chief Warrant Officer Jay Cottam, the crowd of 10,000 was treated to flyovers of two KC-135 air-refueling tankers from the 151st Air Refueling Wing of the Utah Air National Guard and AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters of the Utah Army National Guard’s 211th Aviation.

Ceremonies also included presentation of medals to individual Guard members for their service overseas to include Spc. Erick Lund, 1st Battalion, 148th Field Artillery, who received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service and wounds received in combat in Iraq.

1st Lt. Blake Bingham, Det. 1., B Company, 1457th Enginner Battalion, receives the Utah Cross for lifesaving from Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

1st Lt. Blake Bingham, Det. 1., B Company, 1457th Engineer Battalion, receives the Utah Cross for lifesaving from Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

Two Soldiers were awarded the Utah Cross by Governor Huntsman for bravery here at home:  1st Lt. Blake Bingham, Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 1457th Engineer Battalion; and Sgt. Josh Blackmer, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Bingham saved the life of a fellow unit member March 18 in Vernal. A Soldier had just completed the two-mile run portion of the Army Physical Fitness Test when he collapsed and stopped breathing. Bingham was on hand and immediately administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After a few of Bingham’s breaths the Soldier regained consciousness, was taken to the hospital and later released.

 When asked if he had spoken since with the Soldier about the incident, Bingham downplayed his role in helping out another Guardsman.

“I’ve talked to him a few times, but I’m not sure he even knows that I was the one who helped him—and that’s the way I’d like to keep it,” said Bingham. “I happened to be the one right there when it happened. I just did what anyone else would have done.”

Sgt. Josh Blackmer, C Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), receives the Utah Cross for bravery from Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

Sgt. Josh Blackmer, C Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), receives the Utah Cross for bravery from Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Blackmer received the medal for his actions Aug. 10 at the scene of an overturned tractor-trailer hauling explosives in Spanish Fork Canyon. He provided basic first aid to the two drivers, helped extract them from the truck, took them to safety, and warned other motorists of the danger before the cargo exploded, leaving a 30 x 70-foot crater in U.S. Highway 6.

Recalling the incident, Blackmer said, “I think it was just sheer luck that I was there at the time that I was.”

 While many call him a hero, Blackmer shrugs off that label. “The Army spent thousands of dollars training me, and I just did what I was trained to do,” he said.

After the awards ceremony Huntsman stepped into a humvee driven by Spc. Gregory Annis, Utah Army National Guard Soldier of the year, and reviewed the formation with Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, Utah National Guard adjutant general, and Brig. Gen. Patrick Wilson, I Corps Artillery, commander of troops for the day’s events.

Once each unit filed past the reviewing stand to salute the governor and military leaders assembled, individual Airmen and Soldiers were then released to enjoy the other activities of the day with their families to include equipment displays, a rappelling tower, zip line, pony rides and food court.

It was a patriotic, exciting day, and—given the diversity of those in attendance brought together by design or by circumstance—one not likely to be duplicated anytime soon.

Members of I Corps Artillery, Utah Army National Guard, fire a ceremonial salute to Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., at Camp Williams Sept. 10.

Photo by Spc. Chris Gardner

Members of I Corps Artillery, Utah Army National Guard, fire a ceremonial salute to Gov. Huntsman at Camp Williams Sept. 10.

Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., center, and Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet salute passing troops at Governor's Day, Sept. 10.

Photo by Spc. Chris Gardner

Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., center, and Maj. Gen.

Brian Tarbet salute passing troops at Governor's Day, Sept. 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A KC-135 aircraft flies over the Camp Williams parade field during the Governor's Day ceremony Sept. 10.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

A KC-135 aircraft flies over the Camp Williams parade

field during the Governor's Day ceremony Sept. 10.

1st Lt. Shawn Boyd, 141st Military Intelligence Battalion, receives a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan from Gov. Huntsman.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Greg Cullis

1st Lt. Shawn Boyd, 141st Military Intelligence Battalion, receives a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan from Gov. Huntsman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two young visitors to Camp Williams enjoy the military parade along with Utah Gov. Huntsman and Maj. Gen. Tarbet.

Photo by Spc. Chris Gardner

Two young visitors to Camp Williams enjoy the military parade along with Utah Gov. Huntsman and Maj. Gen. Tarbet.

Gov. Huntsman greets some young well-wishers after the military parade at Governor's Day at Camp Williams Sept. 10.

Photo by Spc. Chris Gardner

Gov. Huntsman greets some young well-wishers after the military parade at Governor's Day at Camp Williams Sept. 10.