News: Kansas National Guardsmen inducted into the Hall of Fame
Story by Spc. Stephanie Hodges
TOPEKA, Kan. - Two former Kansas National Guardsmen were inducted into the Museum of the Kansas National Guard’s Hall of Fame Nov. 6, 2011. Every year, nominations are meticulously reviewed and voted upon to select the most deserving and commendable members from the Kansas National Guard for this select honor. An induction ceremony was held at the Ramada Inn in Topeka, Kan., to pay tribute to the newest members, retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steven D. Evans and retired Command Sgt. Maj. George E. Stevens.
“These two men have devoted their time and their lives to strengthening the Kansas National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli, adjutant general. Their dedication and service has generated a lasting impression on countless other service members.”
Inductees were welcomed into the Hall of Fame by being awarded a Minuteman statue, a Certificate to recognize their induction into the Hall of Fame and a Hall of Fame membership pin. According to retired Lt. Col. Doug Jacobs, the state historian for the Kansas National Guard, it’s a decoration that only a small percentage of Kansas National Guardsmen have been presented with.
“This is a tremendous honor and I can’t think of any other two individuals who are more deserving of it,” said Jacobs.
Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steven D. Evans , who during his career was chiefly responsible for rebuilding the 35th Infantry Division Band, was grateful for the award, owing much of what he accomplished to the troops who worked with him and to his wife, Chris. Yet before leaving the stage, Evan’s wished to make one final comment. “I am not very much for speech making, I am going to conclude my portion of the remarks by stepping in front of the band and letting them speak for me,” said Evans.
Accompanied by the 35th Division Band, Evan’s conducted Stars and Stripes Forever by John Phillip Sousa for the on looking crowd.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. George E. Stevens expressed gratitude for the commitment and support of his mentors, military comrades and most importantly his wife, Karyl. Stevens’s final words illustrated the distinction of being Hall of Fame inductee. “I am deeply honored to be inducted into a very elite group of individuals.”
Attendees at this year’s ceremony included past Hall of Fame inductees, honored guests, family members and National Guard members. Guests were entertained with musical entertainment by the 35th Division Band, pomp and circumstance by the Kansas Guard Ceremonial Platoon and video highlights of the lives and accomplishments of each inductee.
Tafanelli concluded with remarks on the importance of nominating potential Hall of Fame inductees.
“This is the one opportunity we have for history to be able to recognize the outstanding service and dedication that is a true part of our Kansas National Guard heritage.”
Military members and civilians may nominate a retired Kansas National Guardsmen. For further information about Hall of Fame nomination please contact Doug Jacobs at (785) 862-1020 or visit The National Guard Association of Kansas website at www.ngaks.org/?page_id=862.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steven D. Evans
Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steven D. Evans devoted more than three decades of outstand and dedicated service to his nation, the state of Kansas and the Kansas Army National Guard. He built his military career around his love for music and the care and training of members of the 42nd and the 35th Division Bands of the Kansas Army National Guard.
During this period, he worked as a band director for the Olathe, Kan., school district. He has conducted music groups performing in 14 states and six foreign nations, appearing before the president, vice-president, six governors and three foreign heads of state.
Evans entered the military in the 40th Army Band of the Mississippi Army National Guard on April 25, 1963. After Basic Combat Training, he was assigned to the Post Band, 60th United States Army Band, Fort Polk, La. Later in his military career he served in the 47th Army Band, Minnesota Army National Guard; the 1st Battalion, 156th Brigade; and the 31st Infantry Division of the Louisiana Army National Guard before joining the Kansas Army National Guard’s 42nd Army Band.
In 1984, he became the conductor of the band, and later, the bandmaster and commander of the 42nd. He was commander of the 35th Division Band for 17 more years.
The band doubled in size in 1984 and by 1987 it was at 100 percent authorized strength. The band was selected for missions in Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and Ecuador.
Evans continues to dedicate a tremendous amount of time to civic and community organizations. One of his favorite activities is to teach radio communications in amateur radio clubs. As a current resident of Florida, his experience with radio communications proved invaluable to the communities experiencing the devastation from hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. Evans serves his community in his retirement by supporting civic, church and amateur radio operations for disasters.
Command Sgt. Maj. George E. Stevens
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. George E. Steven’s service to the Kansas Army National Guard spans more than 40 years and continues today as he serves as a scout for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. He enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard in 1965. He has served in field units his entire career and in 1988 he was promoted to the rank of sergeant major.
He has served as command sergeant major for the 1st Battalion, 161 Field Artillery; the 35th Division Artillery; and the 287th Sustainment Brigade. During a deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2003, Stevens served as command sergeant major for Joint Military Affairs as part of the 35th Infantry Division’s peacekeeping mission.
In 1991, he led in the organization of the 18th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, a unit of the Kansas Militia, a volunteer organization dedicated to preserving this important history of the Kansas military. He served as the regiment’s command sergeant major since it was chartered. During the Kansas National Guard’s 150th anniversary celebration, he appeared in a replica 18th Cavalry uniform at a community presentation of a framed Heritage Print of the “Battle of Prairie Dog Creek” to the city library in Long Island, Kan.
In his community, he has been a member of the Pratt Fire Department for 40 years and serves as the assistant chief. In addition to these responsibilities, he built the announcers’ booth at the Pratt Sixth Street Ball Park, served as fundraising co-chair for a new flag pole at the Pratt High School football field, as well as installing it and a new flag.
He serves as the coordinator of the community’s Independence Day celebration, organized at his own expense. Stevens is the vice-chairman and special projects coordinator of the B-29 museum and the All Veterans Memorial at the Pratt Industrial Airport. He has also been instrumental in partnering with the Museum of the Kansas National Guard by securing and displaying aviation art. He holds membership in the American Legion, Patriot Guard, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Pratt Rifle and Pistol Association, Enlisted Association of the Kansas National Guard and other community organizations.