New Virginia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters opens its doors on Virginia birthday

Author:
Publish date:
 General Williams (on left) poses in front of the UH-1 Huey with some of the Vietnam veterans who were awarded their Vietnam Service pin.

General Williams (on left) poses in front of the UH-1 Huey with some of the Vietnam veterans who were awarded their Vietnam Service pin.

The Virginia National Guard held a ribbon cutting on 14 May 2018 for its new Joint Force Headquarters located at the Defense Supply Center-Richmond (DSCR). During the course of the ceremony, General Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, discussed the static displays of military equipment by pointing out, "Across the front, starting to my far left, is the WWI German Mortar presented to the Virginia Guard by the Republic of France honoring our service in the American Expeditionary Forces in 1917 to 1918, and the UH-1 Huey representing our Army aviators past and present as well as our Vietnam Veterans. Next is M101 Howitzer evoking the memory of the 29th Infantry Division on 6 June 1944 - D-Day, the Republic F-84 Thunderstreak representing the early years and beginning of the Air Force and our Air National Guard, and the M-41 Walker Bulldog tank underscoring the Army National Guard’s combat arms focus.”

 The Minuteman statue at the new Virginia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters located at Defense Supply Center–Richmond (DSCR), located just south of Richmond, Virginia.

The Minuteman statue at the new Virginia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters located at Defense Supply Center–Richmond (DSCR), located just south of Richmond, Virginia.

Also among the events was the unveiling of the iconic “Minuteman” statue located near the front entrance. Giving the statue a distinctly Virginia focus, the face of the Minuteman was modeled from the portrait of Sergeant John Hickson Jr., a twenty-one year-old Virginia National Guard Doughboy from Lynchburg, Virginia. Hickson served in Company L of the 116th Infantry Regiment in France in 1918 and is credited with service in the Alsace defensive Sector and the Meuse-Argonne. Serving as the base for the statue are white marble blocks that were recovered from a World War 2 era post headquarters flagpole at Fort Pickett. Each of the blocks is 30 inches long and 6 by 6 inches on the end. There were over 300 blocks in the original design of the compass-shaped walkway around the flagpole. The stones are believed to have been been cut and laid in place by German POWs held at Pickett during the war.

 Sergeant John Hickson Jr, a Virginia National Guard Doughboy from the 116th Infantry Regiment. Hickson’s face served as the model for the Minuteman statue.

Sergeant John Hickson Jr, a Virginia National Guard Doughboy from the 116th Infantry Regiment. Hickson’s face served as the model for the Minuteman statue.

After the official ribbon cutting and building open house tours, another ceremony was held at the UH-1 Huey located next to the building to honor Vietnam veterans and former Virginia National Guard aviators. General Williams presided over the observance noting that we are in the midst of the official 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam conflict. All Vietnam veterans were presented with Vietnam Service pins.

 Some of the marble blocks as they were originally used for a walkway around a Fort Pickett headquarters during the second World War. The remaining blocks were also recovered and will be used in future historical projects.

Some of the marble blocks as they were originally used for a walkway around a Fort Pickett headquarters during the second World War. The remaining blocks were also recovered and will be used in future historical projects.