Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
The New Mexico National Guard will induct the first three members of its Hall of Honor during a ceremony in Albuquerque on Saturday.
Retired Lt. Gen. Edward Baca, former adjutant general of New Mexico and chief of the National Guard Bureau; Lt. Col. Charles de Bremond, commander of the historic A Battery from Roswell during World War I; and Chief Master Sgt. William Compton, Vietnam veteran and maintenance expert are the first inductees selected by the Hall of Honor Board.
“The New Mexico National Guard is honored to celebrate the accomplishments and enduring legacy of service of these New Mexico National Guard soldiers and airman of our first induction class of the New Mexico National Guard Hall of Honor,” said Maj. Gen. Ken Nava, the Adjutant General of New Mexico. “The 2019 Hall of Honor class represents New Mexico’s soldiers and airmen fostering an environment of excellence in service to our nation, state and our communities. This year’s inductees excelled in a wide variety of service showcasing diverse paths to their selfless service.”
Baca was instrumental in helping modernize the New Mexico National Guard and the National Guard nationwide, including the deployment in New Mexico of the Army’s only Roland Air Defense battalion along with Chaparral and Hawk missile battalions. He also served in Vietnam. He was appointed chief of the National Guard Bureau and promoted to lieutenant general by President Bill Clinton.
Under de Bremond’s leadership, Battery A was federalized in 1916 and again in 1917, both times under the command of Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, initially serving on the Mexican border as part of the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa. Battery A would deploy and make a name for itself on the French front during World War I and was commended personally by Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, for firing more artillery rounds than any other Army units.
After serving in the war, he was instrumental in the formation of the American Legion. He died of respiratory complications from poison gas in 1919.
Compton deployed with the New Mexico Air National Guard’s 150th Fighter Group to Tuy Hoa, Republic of Vietnam. His work in aircraft maintenance under hostile conditions contributed greatly to the successful completion of the unit’s mission there. Upon returning home, Compton continued his service in the New Mexico Air National Guard as an expert maintainer, rising up the ranks to Chief Master Sergeant – the top enlisted rank of the New Mexico Air National Guard.
His training and care of his airmen touched many and lives on for generations, serving as a model for young leaders to emulate, the National Guard said. His desire to help those around him brought him to serve on the boards of the Enlisted Association of the United States and the Chiefs Council, where he was able to continue to look out for his fellow guardsmen. He died in 2004.
Slide presentations about each inductee will be given during the ceremony. Family members will also receive plaques detailing the accomplishments of the inductees. The story of their accomplishments while in uniform and in their communities will also be featured at the New Mexico National Guard Hall of Honor at the New Mexico Military Museum in Santa Fe. The ceremony on Saturday will be held at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency. The event is sold out.