The governor of Guam and a co-chair of the House National Guard and Reserve Caucus, who is also an Army Guard general officer, headline the recipients of the 2023 NGAUS Individual Awards.
Guam Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero and Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss, a Mississippi Army Guard major general, will receive the association’s highest honor, the Harry S. Truman Award.
NGAUS confers the Truman Award for distinguished service in support of national defense.
Recipients have made sustained contributions of exceptional and far-reaching magnitude to the defense and security of the U.S. in a manner worthy of recognition at the national level.
The award is named after Harry S. Truman — the 33rd U.S. president — who fought in World War I as a member of the Missouri Guard.
Past recipients have been presidents, members of Congress, governors and senior general officers.
Guerrero is the first recipient from a U.S. territory.
Serving in her second term as Guam's governor, Guerrero is being recognized for her contributions to the defense and security of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command region.
Guerrero's nomination from the Guam Guard includes an endorsement letter from Admiral John C. Aquilino, the commander of INDOPACOM.
Kelly is serving in his fifth term in the House. He is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
This year, Kelly co-sponsored the Dental Care for Our Troops Act (H.R. 4420), which would provide no-cost TRICARE dental care for Guardsmen and Reservists, and the Healthcare for our Troops Act (H.R. 4221), which offers no-cost medical coverage for Guardsmen and Reservists.
Kelly also has 37 years in uniform.
He deployed to Iraq in 2005 — and again in 2009 — in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During Kelly's second deployment, he was the battalion commander of the 155th Brigade Combat Team's Task Force Knight, commanding more than 670 troops from Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio.
Kelly additionally has two Bronze Stars.
The Harry S. Truman Award is very distinctive. The award features 13 hand-painted sculpted pewter minutemen, representing the 13 original American colonies.
Retired Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac, the former adjutant general of Nebraska and the president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, and USO Nevada are recipients of the Montgomery medal, the association’s second highest honor.
The Montgomery medal recognizes an individual or organization who provides outstanding support in the pursuit of the association's objectives.
The award is named after the late Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery, a 15-term congressman from Mississippi who was known as "Mr. National Guard" for his support of citizen-soldiers.
New Mexico State Rep. Harry Garcia, Arkansas State Sen. Ricky Hill, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Nevada Gov. Joseph Lombardo, and Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., are recipients of the Charles Dick Medal of Merit.
The medal is named in honor of Maj. Gen. Charles Dick, the NGAUS president from 1902 to 1909.
Dick was a major general in the Ohio Guard before becoming a congressman and later a senator.
He was responsible for the passage of the Dick Acts of 1903 and 1908 that established the foundation of the modern National Guard.
NGAUS is conferring 81 individual awards this year. The complete list is available at www.ngaus.org/awards.
Many of the awards will be presented at the 145th General Conference & Exhibition, Aug. 18-21 in Reno, Nevada.
— By Mark Hensch