190th Patriots of Old Glory

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bill Gilliland
  • 190th ARW Historian

Red, white and blue have always been colors of special significance to Americans, but especially to members of the military. In 1974, one of the most colorful chapters of the history of the 190th began with the formation of the Patriots of Old Glory, a flag team that used different versions of the American flag to tell the story of the flag. The team also served as the wing's color guard. 

Original members of the group were Paul Hurt, Tom Dearing, Gus Parsel, Caroll Summervile, James McGlown, Jim Kornelson, Richard McIver, Joe Ramirez, Joe Bushong and Steve Mercer. Other 190th members would be a part of the team over the next few years. 

The Patriots used five flags that each represented a period of history of the United States. Those five flags - the Queen Anne, the Grand Union, the Betsy Ross, the Star Spangled Banner, and the Old Glory - were presented in historical sequence. Each flag would be presented and a narrator would explain the history of the banner and its significance to Americans. 

During the bicentennial year of 1976, the men even had costumes made to depict the uniforms of 1776. Most of the expense and time devoted to this project were donated by the members of the group, and the only benefit was the pride and satisfaction of being part of a group that was greatly admired all around Kansas and Missouri. 

The group marched in parades, were at the opening of rodeos, football games, and many other functions across the two states, including an opening day ceremony of the Kansas Legislature and a KU - KSU football game. 

The group also performed at several state conventions of the National Guard Association of Kansas. At the 1974 Missouri State Convention of the National Guard Association they presented every flag that had ever flown over the State of Missouri. 

Air Force and Army ROTC units saw their presentation, and many VFW meetings were opened with demonstrations by the group. They drew rave reviews everywhere they performed. 

In 1978, the group was so popular they couldn't perform at all the events they were requested for. At that time, there were 13 NCOs and one Airman on the team, performing on their own time and at their own expense. A call went out for volunteers. 

The group was often featured on local and even national television broadcasts. In 1982, the Patriots opened the Karate World Championships and were televised worldwide. 

The group remained active well into the 1980s, when time and attrition took its toll until the Patriots were eventually transformed into today's Wing Honor Guard. However, they still remain a colorful part of our Coyote heritage.