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Kentucky National Guard Memorial Day Ceremony set for May 31 at 10am

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The Kentucky National Guard's annual Memorial Day observance will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31st at 10 a.m. EST at the Kentucky National Guard Memorial located at the entrance to Boone National Guard Center (100 Minuteman Parkway) in Frankfort, Ky.

The event is free and open to the public with COVID precautions such as social distancing observed. The ceremony will last approximately 45 minutes.

This year's event will focus on one new name added and the fifteen fallen of the 103rd and 106th Coast Artillery Battalions (Separate)  whose names appear on the Memorial on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of World War II. These men fought in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, and Germany .

One new name added to the Memorial:  Pvt. Winstell Hearell, 19, of Wheatcroft, Webster County, was struck and killed by the Seminole Limited train on May 19, 1917, while serving with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Kentucky Infantry Regiment on federal active duty. Hearell was killed while guarding a railroad trestle some two and half miles from Wickliffe.

Casualties of the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion  (Automatic Weapons) (Mobile): MAJ Mortimer M. Benton, Fayette County; CPL Opal E. Cornn, Laurel County; PVT Buster Criswell, Owen County; 1LT Hal T. Hackney, Fayette County; 1LT Thomas L. Hehman, Campbell County; T/5 Richard A. Heidkamp,  Boone County;  1LT Jeff Johnson, Jr., Laurel County; PFC Kenneth Walsh, Campbell County and  T/5 Owen W. Whitaker, Fayette County

Casualties of the 106th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (Automatic Weapons) (Self-Propelled) : T/5 James C. Berry, Barren County; T/5 Gordon B. Brooks, Barren County; T/5 Joseph R. Carrico, Washington County; PVT James J. Gannon, Washington County; SGT John E. Parrott, Washington County and T/5 Raymond J. Ramsey, Wayne County.

History of the 103rd and 106th AAA AW Battalions The reorganization of the United States Army shortly before World War converted Kentucky's 123rd Cavalry on November 1, 1940, as the 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion and the 106th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion.

Members of the 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion the battalion began training at Fort Sheridan, Lake County, Illinois on March 4, 1942. On April 30, the 103rd left New York, arriving in Northern Ireland on May 15.  The unit was transferred to North Africa, arriving December 8.  On July 2, 1943, the 103rd left North Africa and went to Sicily.  The battalion participated in the Operation HUSKY, the Sicily Campaign from July 9 to August 17, 1943.  Departing Sicily on November 17, the 103rd arrived in Scotland on December 9 1943.  On September 29 1944, it was stationed at Belgium, remaining there until October 22.  From October 1944 to April 28, 1945, the 103rd was in Germany.  Between April 28 and May 6, the 103rd was in Czechoslovakia.  The 103rd arrived at New York November 30.  On December 1, 1945, the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Amphibious Automatic Weapons Battalion (Mobile) was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Redesignated May 13, 1946 as the 441st Field Artillery Battalion, Kentucky National Guard with Headquarters at Lexington, Kentucky.  Currently the lineage and honors of the 103rd is carried by the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery , with Headquarters at Lexington.

The 106th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion, began training at Camp Hulen, located near Palacios, Texas, in January 15, 1941.  The unit arrived in Northern Ireland on May 15.  On October 19, when it was transferred to North Africa.  The battalion took part in Operation TORCH, the invasion of North Africa, arriving at Algeria on November 7. 

Between the dates of November 17, 1942 to May 13, 1943, the 106th participated in the Tunisian Campaign.  The battalion left Africa and arrived in Sicily on July 10. The 106th participated in the Sicily campaign between July 9 and August 17.  On September 16, the 106th departed from Sicily and moved to Italy, remained there until August 12, 1944, and participating in the Naples-Foggia Campaign.  The battalion landed in Southern France on August 15.  The 106th left France on December 20 and went to Germany. The unit returned to the U. S.  December 2nd.  The battalion was inactivated the following day, December 3, 1945 at Camp Shanks, New York.

On January 29, 1947, it was reorganized and redesignated as the 623rd Field Artillery Battalion with Headquarters at Glasgow, Kentucky.  Currently the lineage and honors of the 106th is carried by the 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery.

(provided by the Kentucky National Guard)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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