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NM National Guard has local reunion

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Dan Judy, at right, a military collector and historian, gives a ride in his World War II Ford GPW Jeep to members of the Kasuboski family of Roswell, during Saturday's reunion of New Mexico National Guard members at the American Legion Hall on North Montana Ave. In front, at left, is Danny Kasuboski. In back are, from left, Kadin, Lukas and Mattheu. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The organizers of the first reunion of people who have served in Roswell with the New Mexico Army National Guard felt the time had come to greet old friends and remember their experiences.

Brig. Gen. Kenneth Nava, adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard, talks with Frank Sosa, left, and Jaime Fierro during Saturday’s reunion of men and women who have served with Roswell units of the Army National Guard. The all-day event occurred at the American Legion Hall on North Montana Avenue. Nava lived in Roswell from 1998 to 2005 while serving with the 1st Battalion of the 200th Air Defense Artillery. Sosa of Roswell served with the New Mexico National Guard for 25 years starting in 1963. Fierro, also of Roswell, began serving with the National Guard in the 1980s and worked with Roswell units from 1988 to 1999. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

“One day I was sitting down and I was thinking about the people who were in the Guard,” said Frank Sosa, who first joined the New Mexico National Guard in 1963, retiring as a first sergeant 25 years later. “There had been about 15 people who passed away, so I thought it was time for us to get together.”
The all-day event Saturday at the American Legion Hall on North Montana Avenue reunited the men and women who have served with the 1st Battalion, 200th Air Defense Artillery and the 320th Ordnance Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery. The reunion was expected to draw about 200 people as well as two special guests. Recently named Adjutant General of the New Mexico National Guard Brig. Gen. Kenneth A. Nava stopped by for about an hour in the morning to meet with friends, while New Mexico Department of Veterans Services Secretary Jack Fox was expected to attend the evening banquet and dance.

Nava, a native of Santa Fe, lived in Roswell from 2003 to 2005 while serving with 1st Battalion. He now commands all of the New Mexico Air and Army National Guard and serves as chief military adviser for Gov. Susana Martinez.
“There are very few people who join the military. It is less than 1 percent,” Nava said, “so I welcomed a chance to be here and see a few of them come together. It is nice to reminisce about our experiences. I don’t remember the painful times, the bad times. Now not everyone is wired like that, but I remember the funny things, the good times.”
The family-oriented reunion also included a World War II historical display, an inflatable climbing structure and a couple of jump houses.