Supporting the Virginia National Guard Historical Foundation
Friends of the Foundation Recent Donations
St. Lô” certificate awarded to William Russo
The “D-day to St. Lô” certificate awarded to William Russo for service in France in 1944. Casualties were so high on D-day and the following days that just surviving was an accomplishment. General Gerhardt, the 29th Infantry Division Commander, recognized that accomplishment by handing these certificates to those eligible.
Stars and Stripes for 1 May 1975
Welcome news to most of those who served in South East Asia during the Vietnam War, this copy of the Pacific Stars and Stripes for 1 May 1975 announces that the war is over.
Helmet belonging to Tech-5 Ulric Rothgeb
The M1 helmet belonging to Tech-5 Ulric Rothgeb showing clearly the German “zeltbahn” camouflage material carefully fitted under the helmet net and neoprene band. Rothgeb, from Farmville, Virginia, was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery near the town of St. Lô on 17 July 1944.
VA Air National Guard patches
A selection of colorful VA ANG flight suit and work uniform patches point out the ever-changing aircraft needed to keep pace in providing aerial supremacy for United States military forces. The VA ANG’s superior performance with all these different aircraft types reinforces their three word mission statement “Fly. Fight. Win.”
You can support the efforts of the VANG HF to tell the story of the Virginia National Guard and to build a museum by:
Donation of Artifacts
BECOME ONE OF OUR SUPPORTERS
Friend of the Virginia Guard
$1 to $199
Friend of the Virginia National Guard
Making a donation to the Virginia National Guard Historical Foundation is an investment in supporting our efforts to teach the history of our state and country.
$200 to $499
The USO was created in 1941 from lessons learned during WWI when the many service organizations sometimes provided uncoordinated support to the soldiers overseas. By consolidating into one organization the USO was able to maximize its efforts. In 2011, the USO was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama “for contributions to lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families through the arts.” Making a donation at this level shows a sincere desire to support the VANG’s educational and museum-building efforts.
$500 to $999
This is the official seal for Calvados, a region in Normandy. The area is known for producing butter, cheese, cider and, most importantly Calvados, the apple spirit that takes its name from the area. The Virginia Guardsmen in the 29th Infantry Division in WWII enjoyed this tasty but extremely powerful beverage. Donating at the Calvados level has the same tasty and powerful effect.
Elbe River Level
$1,000 to $4,999
Elbe River Level
On 17 April 1945, the 29th Infantry Division was ordered to sweep in a north-easterly direction with the goal of rounding up all of the German soldiers west of the Elbe River. The Elbe had been agreed to previously by the Allied High Command as the boundary between Eisenhower’s Allied forces approaching from the west, and the Russian Armies from the east. It would be the farthest advance of the American Army in Northern Germany. After meeting only token resistance on 21 April from enemy forces in two small German towns, the 29th continued its march to the Elbe. Within a week, the Division found itself on the west bank on the Elbe.
On 3 May 1945, a group of Russian soldiers crossed the river and were welcomed by the 29th. Later that evening, another group crossed and this time were led by a Russian major general. They were met by the Divisional Artillery Commander, Brigadier General William H. Sands, who presented them with gifts on behalf of General Charles Gerhardt.
Donating at this level is an important move in reaching out to help the VANG HF continue aid to our Guardsmen and significantly support the building of the Museum of the Virginia National Guard.
$5,000 to $9,999
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt is a World War II-era fighter aircraft produced by the American company “Republic Aviation” from 1941 through 1945. The Thunderbolt was effective as a short-to medium-range escort fighter in high-altitude air-to-air combat and ground attack in both the European and Pacific theaters. Pilots liked that the armored cockpit was roomy and comfortable and the bubble canopy introduced on the P-47D offered them very good visibility. Affectionately nicknamed the “Jug” owing to its appearance if stood on its nose, the P-47 was noted for its firepower, as well as its ability to resist battle damage and remain airworthy.
When the Virginia Air National Guard was established at Richmond in 1947 its squadron was equipped with the P-47. Quickly the citizens of Richmond and the surrounding areas became used to looking up and seeing flights of P-47s crossing Virginia’s skies. Donors at the Thunderbolt level show an appreciation of the VANG’s mission importance to the state and the country.
Society of St Lo
$10,000 to $49, 999
What is The Society of Saint-Lô?
The Society of Saint-Lô is named in honor of one of the most famous campaigns and battles in the Virginia National Guard’s history. Capturing the critical crossroads in Saint-Lô in July 1944 came at a heavy price. Ultimately, it was the action that helped the US Army break out of the Normandy Bocage and move quickly to liberate much of that region of France.
Membership in the Society of Saint-Lô is awarded by the VANG HF to those who contribute generously to the VANG HF’s goals and the Museum building efforts.
What is the significance of the images on the Society of Saint-Lô pin?
The center of the pin has the official seal of the City of Saint-Lô. The city seal rests on a gold shield filled with gray and over a banner of blue. The gold shield, letters and outline signify wisdom, generosity, and faith. The Blue and the Gray pay homage to the colors of the 29th Infantry Division patch – Liberators of the City of Saint-Lô.
Members of The Society of Saint Lô
- Dr. Anne Atkinson (in memory of her husband SGM (ret) Eugene Atkinson)
- Christopher M. Calkins (in memory of his wife Sarah Calkins)
- Mike Coleman
- Roddy and Cyndi Davoud
- CMSgt(ret) Jay Ellis
- BG and Mrs. James W. Ring
- MG and Mrs. Williams
$50,000 to $99, 999
On 23 September 1918, the 29th Division began to march northwards towards the Meuse-Argonne. Moving mainly at night, and mostly in the rain, the Blue and Gray infantrymen reached the assembly area of the American First Army and became part of the AEF reserve force. With the French Army’s attack on the far right of the Argonne making little progress, the 29th was summoned from its place in reserve and ordered forward. Crossing the Meuse on a bridge near the village of Charny, the “Blue and Gray” Doughboys were on the east side of the Meuse River. After making a 14-kilometer march the night of 7 October, the 29th’s 58th Infantry Brigade (115th and 116th Infantry regiments and 112th Machine Gun Bn), reached their starting positions. At 5 a.m. the next morning, they followed a hundred yards behind a rolling artillery barrage, and crossed the no-man’s land to their front. For the next 20 days the 29th would fight to rid their portion of the battlefield of Germans and Austrians. On 28 October, the 29th Division received word that they were to be relieved by the U.S. 79th Division and then withdrawn from the front lines.
Donating at this level shows true dedication to support the Museum of the VANG as well providing education and research opportunities for all Virginians.
Omaha Beach Level
$100,000 to $499,999
Omaha Beach level
This is the highest level of donation and is symbolized by the medallion awarded to all
D-Day Veterans who made the trip to Normandy in 2004.
Perhaps no battle better represents the bravery and dedication of the Virginia National Guardsmen and their comrades than the landing on Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944. When the ships carrying the 29th sailed on 5 June 1944, there would be no turning back. Their destination was a beach ten miles east of the Cherbourg peninsula. This beach, code-named Omaha, was designated for attack by assault companies from both the 1st Division and the 29th. As the boats approached the beach they were met by heavy German fire. Many were killed or wounded before they even left the boats. That the 29th had managed to overcome all the bad weather, bad luck, and enemy opposition it faced, was truly a tribute to its training, and the courage of the young soldiers and their leaders.
The Virginia National Guard Historical Foundation has established the “Minuteman Award” to be awarded to those who step forward and support the VANG HF in its mission of:
- Building a Museum of the Virginia National Guard which will provide for the recovery, preservation, display and explanation of historically significant artifacts
- Providing critical professional development for the soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard as well as members of all military services and organizations in the Commonwealth.
It is awarded by members of the VANG Historical Foundation Board to worthy recipients.
Receipents of the Minuteman Award
- COL(ret) James Ebertowski (FoG)*
- MSG(ret) Craig Jewell (FoG)
- SFC(ret) John Bleattler (FoG)
- GS15(ret) Brian Wood (FoG)
- LTC(ret) Forrest Malcomb (FoG)
- LTC(ret) Tom Michels (FoG)
- MAJ(ret) Doug Weiser (FoG)
- CSM(ret) Cheyenne Johnson (FoG)
- VA GA Senator T. Montgomery “Monty” Mason
- DVS Commissioner Daniel Gade
*NOTE: The acronym FoG stands for “Friend of the Guard” and denotes voluntary service in the VANG HF supporting group who preserve and refurbish historical military items for the VANG.