Dual Air Guard couple celebrates wedding anniversary while serving community
By Tech. Sgt. R Denise Mommens, 155th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published June 17, 2020
LINCOLN, Neb.—When Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts activated members of the Nebraska National Guard Reaction Force, May 31, 2020, to assist civil authorities in ensuring the safety of all Nebraskans, Tech. Sgt. Kenny Morrison, an NGRF team leader from the 155th Security Forces Squadron, and his wife, Senior Airman Grace Morrison, who also serves as a military police officer with the 155th SFS, both answered the call —just days before their second wedding anniversary.
“Our whole relationship has revolved around the military,” Grace said. “We met in the military. We got engaged. Our wedding got moved up because we were going on separate deployments. On our first anniversary, I was at a post-deployment Yellow Ribbon Reintegration event, so we didn’t really get to spend that anniversary together.”
While the couple are no strangers to having military obligations impact their personal lives, this mission provided them with a pleasantly unexpected surprise.
“We weren’t actually going to be able to spend this one together until we got called up,” Kenny said. “I was back home working, and she was working on orders. So it’s kind of an odd coincidence. We actually got called up and get to spend it together.”
The Morrisons were two of 24 Airmen from 155th Security Forces Squadron activated to assist the Lincoln Police Department and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office with civil unrest support at the Lancaster County Hall of Justice building, May 31, 2020, in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska while citizens participated in demonstrations. Their mission was to protect property and to restore peace and calm after peaceful protests against racial injustice and inequality were followed by incidents of violence and vandalism in Lincoln and Omaha the night before.
Kenny is one of three team leaders responsible for four other members. Grace is assigned to a different team where she is responsible for all equipment issued to the team members during this support mission with the Lincoln Police Department.
“What’s going on now is we are standing by in case the protests get out of hand,” Kenny said on June 4 while actively supporting the mission. “We will support the police in any role as they need.”
Kenny said he has trained annually and been a part of the reaction force team for the past nine years, but he never thought he would have to put it into practice here in his home state.
“The protests from what we have been seeing these last couple days, have been extremely peaceful,” Kenny said. “The organizers have done very well in how they have been doing it.
Kenny said he was impressed by how young the organizers were, and he praised them for what they were doing. Still he thought there may be some confusion with the public in the role the National Guard plays.
“We’re not here to take away their voice or anything,” Kenny said. “We are supposed to be here to help the state in any capability they need, whether it be the COVID-19 response, or to hand out food. We did it last year with the floods where people were getting rescued. We’re here for the state of Nebraska.”
The Airmen on this domestic support mission were actively embedded with local law enforcement until they were released to be stand-by only, June 7, until further notice.