Brig. Gen. Judy Griego honored during Salute to Our Heroes

November 18, 2014 at 8:15am
By Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Mallary
New Mexico National Guard Public Affairs NCO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Brig. Gen. Judy Griego, chief of the Joint Staff of the New Mexico National Guard, was honored during the Nov. 15 Salute to Our Heroes at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum.

The cadets of the Bataan Military Academy’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps chose Griego for their entry in the American Female Heroes exhibit. The exhibit, profiling distinguished military women, was unveiled at the event, which was co-sponsored by the Museum of the American Military Family and the Albuquerque Balloon Museum.

Elisabeth Sacco, community outreach liaison for the Museum of the American Military Family and Blue Star Mothers member, said that the JROTC cadets selected Griego because of her rise through the ranks. Sacco said that the cadets were not only impressed that Griego enlisted as an airman basic and is now a brigadier general, but also by the fact she earned the rank of master sergeant in 12 years.

After Griego confirmed that she would attend the event, Sacco kept her appearance a secret to surprise the cadets. She also kept the honor of being selected as an American Female Hero as a surprise for Griego.

When Griego and the cadets met in person, Sacco said, “It was a moment. The interaction was amazing. Meeting with her was the highlight of their day.”

Sacco added, “I’m just so moved that a brigadier general would take the time to speak with these girls, the UNM (University of New Mexico) ROTC cadets, and the civilians present.”

Brig. Gen. Andrew Salas, the adjutant general of New Mexico, attended the event with other NMNG representatives.

The exhibits will remain on display at the balloon museum for a limited time because the Museum of the American Military Family does not yet have a permanent home. That’s something Sacco, Executive Director Circe Olson-Woessner and others are working to change.

“The real dream is walls for our museum,” Sacco said.

While Olson-Woessner and her group are staunch supporters of men and women in uniform, Sacco said, they also want to recognize the family members who themselves make sacrifices for military service.

Those interested in the Museum of the American Military Family may visit their website at http://www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org/ to learn more.

Brig. Gen. Andrew Salas, the adjutant general of New Mexico, and Brig. Gen. Judy Griego, chief of the Joint Staff of the New Mexico National Guard, pose with Chief Brian Propst and JROTC cadets from the Bataan Military Academy during Salute to Our Heroes Nov. 15 at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. The cadets selected Griego for inclusion in the American Female Heroes exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Sacco, Community Outreach Liaison, Museum of the American Military Family)Brig. Gen. Andrew Salas, the adjutant general of New Mexico, and Brig. Gen. Judy Griego, chief of the Joint Staff of the New Mexico National Guard, pose with Chief Brian Propst and JROTC cadets from the Bataan Military Academy during Salute to Our Heroes Nov. 15 at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. The cadets selected Griego for inclusion in the American Female Heroes exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Sacco, Community Outreach Liaison, Museum of the American Military Family)

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Brig. Gen. Judy Griego, chief of the Joint Staff of the New Mexico National Guard, speaks with Bataan Military Academy JROTC cadets and other attendees at the Nov. 15 Salute to Our Heroes at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. The cadets chose Griego for their entry in the American Female Heroes display. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Sacco, Community Outreach Liaison, Museum of the American Military Family)Brig. Gen. Judy Griego, chief of the Joint Staff of the New Mexico National Guard, speaks with Bataan Military Academy JROTC cadets and other attendees at the Nov. 15 Salute to Our Heroes at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. The cadets chose Griego for their entry in the American Female Heroes display. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Sacco, Community Outreach Liaison, Museum of the American Military Family)

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