Arizona Air Guardsmen Supporting World War II Memorial’s Creation

Members of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing in Phoenix are helping to create a “Guns to Salute the Fallen” memorial near the Arizona State Capitol building. These Air Guardsmen are refurbishing gun barrels from the World War II battleships USS Arizona and USS Missouri for use in the memorial, which will display the names of Arizonans who died in the conflict. The memorial’s two gun barrels arrived in Arizona in April. Starting in June, members of the 161st Maintenance Group began refurbishing the badly corroded barrels, according to the wing’s Dec. 7 release. “The 161st Maintenance Group looks forward to completing this project,” said MSgt. Nathan Kesler, the group’s guidance and control shop supervisor. Wing members participated in the memorial’s groundbreaking on Dec. 7, the 71st anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor where the Navy lost the Arizona and more than 1,100 of its sailors and marines. The Japanese formally surrended aboard the Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945, ending World War II. The memorial’s dedication is planned for Dec. 7, 2013. (Phoenix report by TSgt. Susan Gladstein) (See also Guns to Salute to the Fallen website.)