Lt. Col. James A. Poston is shown emerging from his F-84E Thunderjet -inset of Poston holding trophy

Photo courtesy of Ohio National Guard Heritage Center

Lt. Col. James A. Poston, commander of the 166th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, is shown emerging from his F-84E Thunderjet after winning the Ricks Memorial Trophy cross-country jet race from Ontario, Calif. to Detroit-Wayne Airport, Mich., which took place on July 2, 1955.

Ohio Air National Guard pilot wins cross-country jet race

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann, Ohio Army National Guard Historian

“Slow F-84 Jet Wins Dash Across U.S.” was the newspaper headline that announced Lt. Col. James Poston of the 166th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron as the winner of the 1955 Ricks Memorial Trophy race that took place on July 2, 1955. Poston raced the 1,945 miles from Ontario, Calif. to Detroit in 3 hours, 32 minutes at an average speed of 546 miles per hour in a F84E “Thunderjet.”

A veteran of World War II and Korea, Poston was the commander of the 166th FIS at the time of the race. The then-35-year-old pilot made one stop for fuel during the race in Lincoln, Neb. “I got in and out of there as fast as I could and didn’t even take time out for coffee,” Poston told the United Press. Poston was one of 22 pilots who competed in 1955, with 19 finishing the race.

The Ricks Memorial Trophy Race began in 1954 and was exclusively for Air National Guard pilots. The race was named for Maj. Gen. Earl T. Ricks, an Arkansas native and former deputy chief of the National Guard Bureau. By the mid-1960s the race ended, but the trophy is still awarded annually for outstanding airmanship demonstrated by Air National Guard aircrew members.



Stow armory with 1st Sgt Robert Pinn super imposed

Stow armory named for U.S. Colored Troops hero during Civil War

First Sgt. Robert Pinn (1843-1911) earned the Medal of Honor during the Battle of New Market Heights, Va. on Sept. 29, 1864. He was the first Black Soldier to have an armory or readiness center named after him in the state, in the early 1970s, when the new Ohio Army National Guard Armory in Stow was opened.


Painting of HELL'S WENCH aircraft with black and white photo of Baker superimposed.

Lt. Col. Addison Baker earns Medal of Honor during WWII

On Aug. 1, 1943, “Hell’s Wench,” an American B-24 bomber badly damaged by antiaircraft artillery fire, led the 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) in its daring low-level attack on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, which supplied two-thirds of Germany’s petroleum production at that stage of World War II.


Pvt. Jacob Parrott with super-imposed Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor history:
Member of Ohio National Guard predecessor was first recipient

Pvt. Jacob Parrott, a member of the Ohio Volunteer Militia — the predecessor to the Ohio National Guard — has the distinction of being the first person to receive the Medal of Honor, on March 25, 1863.


Painting depicts the action of Pvt. Billy E. Vinson who fought off a bayonet attack by six Japanese rifleman

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Marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Manila

Spearheading the mission to retake the Philippine capital city of Manila from the Japanese in 1945 was the Ohio National Guard’s 37th Infantry Division, by then veterans of four years of active service and two bloody jungle campaigns: New Georgia and Bougainville.