First Muster Firearm on Display in New York
December 17, 2012
LATHAM, N.Y. -- The New York National Guard's top two NCOs unveiled a historic display, a replica 1636 musket, in honor of the National Guard's birthday here Dec. 13.
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Wicks, the New York National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. and Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard King, the senior enlisted advisor for the New York Air National Guard joined to present a full replica Newtowne musket at the entrance of New York's Joint Force Headquarters as a tribute from the Enlisted Association of New York.
"If there's one thing I know about our senior NCOs is that they can and will donate money," Wicks said, for the right cause.
The project to create the replica muskets began in the summer of 2011 when EANGUS representatives met with David Miller, the Associate Curator of the Smithsonian's Armed Forces History Division to accurately measure, photograph and make replications for reproduction the original weapon from the museum collection.
Only 375 muskets will be produced, a tribute to the 2011 375th birthday of the National Guard.
"The E9s (senior NCOs) of the Army and Air National Guard got together to purchase a replica musket, number 11, with the significance that New York was the 11th state in the nation," Wicks said.
Purchased on behalf of the Enlisted Association of New York, the musket was presented, accepted and dedicated for display as part of the New York National Guard's 376th birthday celebration.
The National Guard traces its roots to the first mandatory muster in December 1636 and the Newtowne musket was the first firearm of the National Guard's Citizen Soldier.
The replica is known among historians as one of the first American-produced muskets, produced in Newtowne, Massachusetts for colonists between 1631 and 1636. It is a .75 caliber (3/4-inch musket ball) matchlock musket.
The Smithsonian dates the musket to 1636 because Newtowne changed its name to Cambridge in 1636, when Harvard University was founded there. Additionally, the unique stock shape and curly maple construction is indigenous to the eastern coast of North America, also indicating American manufacture.
The replica was manufactured in Oklahoma by The Rifle Shoppe. The company is known among gun collectors for its historically correct reproductions with attention to even the smallest details.
Net proceeds of this project go to benefit EANGUS and its We Care for America Foundation, which provides emergency financial grants to Soldiers and Airmen of the National Guard who experience a catastrophic loss.