By 1st Lt. Titus FirminAugust 28, 2019
TOPEKA, Kansas - Rainy weather did not stop Warrant Officer Candidate Class 19-001 from leaving their mark on history during a community outreach program at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard in Topeka, Kansas, Aug. 24. As part of the course curriculum to graduate, WOCs must conduct a community outreach project in order to graduate. Usually, WOCs tackle projects at the Morrison House and assist terminally ill patients at the Salina Regional Health Center. "Since the WOC school will be inducted into the Museum of the Kansas National Guard Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, the candidates thought it was fitting to conduct a community outreach project here in Topeka," said Chief Warrant Officer Four David Lockhart, WOCS Course Manager. The WOCs prepared a new exhibit and assisted Master Sgt. Jeremy Byers, command state historian of the Kansas National Guard, with several small projects at the museum over the weekend as part of their community outreach project.
The cadets installed two-class signs and a video their class created for the new WOC School exhibit. The exhibit's video commemorates both the 100-year anniversary of the Warrant Officer Corps in the U.S. Army, as well as the Kansas Army National Guard's WOC School that was established in 2006. Traditionally, candidates create a class sign to display their creative skills and expertise typical of a warrant officer.
The WOC project aligned with the museum's mission of presenting the heritage and history of the Kansas National Guard and the 35th Infantry Division to the public. The Museum of the Kansas National Guard opened in 1997 thanks to the monumental efforts of the non-profit National Guard Association of Kansas. In 2015 the Kansas National Guard created the position of state command historian to work in partnership with the Museum of the Kansas National Guard. The museum is made up of a collection of general exhibits on the Kansas National Guard, as well as individual unit exhibits such as the Warrant Officer Candidate School. Annually, over 18,000 people visit the museum and learn about the history and heritage of the Kansas National Guard.
"Now that you have left your mark on history, it is your job to fill in that gap. If you have unit memorabilia or artifacts I want you to share it," said Byers. "A lot of boys and girls visit the museum to see and interact with history. These artifacts inspire some of them to serve their local communities and join the National Guard. So please continue to help me, help present our history."
Byers commended the WOCS on their efforts to expand the history and mission of the Kansas National Guard by regularly visiting to update their unit exhibit.
After the candidates finished the new WOC School exhibit, they assisted Master Sgt. Byers with several other needed tasks at the museum. The WOCs reorganized the museum's archival storage and moved two large microfilm readers for future use in the archive by researchers and scholars. In addition, WOC Class 19-001 inventoried the museum's extensive weapons collection. The museum of the Kansas National Guard is the repository for over a thousand different historical firearms and includes a collection of weapons that belonged to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on loan from the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas.
The Museum of the Kansas National Guard and the WOC School will conduct an induction ceremony for the new exhibit at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, at the museum in Topeka. The public is welcomed to attend and visit the new exhibit.