On September 11, 2018, we were honored to have Sgt 1st Class Scott Hamilton, a member of our local National Guard’s 262nd Engineering Battalion located in the armory across from Westbrook High School, as our special guest and speaker.  He was introduced by Rotarian Phil Spiller, who was a young Navy aviator in 2001. 
On September 11, 2001, Scott was a 27-year old National Guardsman based in Sanford. He was at work when the first plane hit the tower.  He recounted that it was a confusing day with no one really knowing what was happening.  All they could do was watch and try to prepare. At the time, the National Guard was under funded, still training with equipment from the Vietnam era. Their top commander was only a 3-star general, with all other branches having higher top rank.
In 2003, he was called to duty for the Iraq War.  Training at Fort Dix was basic and nominal before deployment.  They shipped out, but had to wait 3 months for their equipment to arrive.  He noted that this equipment had canvas tops and no armor.  They were fortunate not to lose anyone on this deployment.
By the time he was called up again in 2010, things had changed. They were well-funded and had top of the line equipment. It had been recognized that the National Guard brings a strong skill set to the missions with electricians, plumbers, mechanics, doctors, teacher, and other professionals.  By 2011, the top commander of Army National Guard was a 4-star General, on par with other services.  He told us that 9/11 had showed how our National Guard was not well prepared for potential missions, but now they are.
Thank you SFC Scott Hamilton for your remarks and remembrance of this somber day in our country’s history - the 17th anniversary on the largest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. Scott was born and raised in Buxton and continues to live there with his family. He has served our country for 28 years, all in the Army National Guard.