RALEIGH (WTVD) — The North Carolina National Guard celebrated its 354 years of service with a ceremony at the Raleigh headquarters Friday. Service members shared a cake to commemorate the birthday.

“It’s real important for us to celebrate that and everybody to recognize all the traditions and the history of the North Carolina National Guard,” said Jim Herring, State Command Chief Warrant Officer for the North Carolina National Guard.

A declaration signed by Governor Roy Cooper was on display. It declares March 24 “North Carolina National Guard Heritage Day”.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

Three service members were honored for their heroism with the Soldier and Airman Medal, awarded for the first time.

Specialist Robert Shook rescued a nurse trapped in the flood waters of Hurricane Matthew in Wilson County.

“Even to this day I think back what if I wasn’t there?” Specialist Shook said. “I’m glad I was there and I’m glad this is what I do.”

Sgt. Charles Roper freed a pilot from a burning plane after a crash in February in Morganton.

“I’m just glad I was there,” Sgt. Roper said.

Read more…