July 18, 2013 -- CSA's remarks at 4 ID Memorial Dedication
July 19, 2013
General Raymond T. Odierno
Chief of Staff of the Army
4 ID Memorial Dedication
July 18, 2013
General Odierno: It is great to be here. Good afternoon everyone. What a beautiful day -- the Fort Benning sun never disappoints. Kind of reminds me of the heat in Iraq, although there it's a dry heat. Thanks, Bob that great introduction. I will say there's one detail he left out in my background when we talked about the environment. We had about 36 ships of equipment in the Mediterranean headed into Turkey. One day my staff came along and told me with that size, I commanded the fifth largest Navy in the world. So I am also an Admiral. (Laughter).
It is truly a great privilege for Linda and I to be here to celebrate this great day, the history, the Soldiers and the families of the 4th Infantry Division. I want to take a quick moment to thank a few people. First MG H.R. and Katie McMaster, Command Sergeant Major Carabello and the Fort Benning leadership, thank you so much for your great support and everything you do. Thank you so much for being here today. I want to thank the Civilian Assistant to Secretary of the Army for Georgia and Vietnam Veteran Duke Doubleday. Duke, thank you so much. Of course, Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha and his wife Tammy. It is great to see you both. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here. You are a proud part of 4th Infantry Division history because of what you stand for, who you are, what you stand for with your Platoon mates and everything that you did. You are a great representative not only of the 4th Infantry Division, but our Army. So thank you sir for being here. (Applause). Colonel Brian Pearl, Commander, 4th Brigade, 4ID representing Major General LaCamera. Sir, thank you for being here. I really appreciate it. You represent the opportunity I had to visit Fort Carson a few weeks ago right before General LaCamera deployed. I also want you to know I have been in communications with JD Thurman, Dave Perkins, and Joe Anderson. All of them send their best. They wish they could be here with you. They truly, truly want to celebrate the great heritage of the 4th Infantry Division. I also would like to particularly thank World War II Veterans Wayne Brown and Joe Motil for being here and also Mary Mosure, who is the widow of a World War II bomber pilot. Thank you so much for being here as well. I want to thank Command Sergeant Major Mike Evans, former First Sergeant Charlie Company, 1-22 Infantry and the other great Color guard Veterans. Thank you so much for helping us as the Color Guard. Many thanks to the 208th Army Reserve Band from Concord, North Carolina.
The memorial we will dedicate today is a remarkable and fitting tribute to the legacy of this great unit. Gerry Howard, as Monument Committee Chairman, your efforts leading the charge for this memorial and the one at Arlington National Cemetery have been exceptional and untiring. Your leadership in concert with the immense talents of architect Emory Kirkwood and metal artist Brad Morton have produced an awe-inspiring memorial. Thank you so much for all you have done. We are so grateful to each of you for your hard work and dedication that will ensure the history, courage and sacrifices of all 4th ID Veterans will be better understood by future generations of Soldiers and Americans not only here at Fort Benning and in our Nation's capital.
The memorial we dedicate today stands nine feet tall and casts in bronze the "Famous Fourth" Infantry Division patch of four ivy leaves positioned at the points of a square and joined at the stem. Behind the patch, the Memorial Wall honors the battle streamers and accomplishments of the 4th Infantry Division in World War I, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the War on Terrorism. And it is the Soldiers and the Veterans of these wars, which we so honor today.
It was on this very day, 18 July 1918, 95 years ago, that the 4th Infantry Division fought its first battle against German forces in the Aisne-Marne offensive, thus beginning its proud history. In one of the unit's first official histories, Commander Major General Mark L. Hersey writes: "This is the story of a Division which was organized, trained, brought overseas, and fought in the final great offensives of the World War, all within a period of eleven months. It is a feat not paralleled in the history of our Army. This achievement was made possible only because officers and men alike became imbued with a high sense of loyalty to their Division and to each other. It was this steadfast and loyal spirit, gradually developed in the school of discipline, made perfect in the school of war, which rendered all these things possible."
From World War I onward, Officers and NCOs, Soldiers and Veterans, men and women of the 4th Infantry Division have demonstrated by their deeds, large and small, how ordinary Americans can accomplish extraordinary feats of courage, particularly in times of war. This memorial honors 4th ID leaders such as Major General John Hines, who commanded the Division during the Battle of St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He went on to command the Third Army Corps and later followed General Pershing as Chief of Staff of the Army from 1924-1926 during a period of severe budgetary cuts. I can relate to that situation. (Laughter)
It is leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. who as a Lieutenant Colonel earned a Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in World War I. Later, as the Assistant Division Commander in World War II, he earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Normandy Invasion. Insisting he be in the first wave of forces at Utah Beach, and after being informed his forces had landed one mile south of their intended target, he quipped, "Then we'll start right here!" - a steadfast and loyal Soldier if ever there was one.
The 4th Infantry Division has been blessed with Soldiers of uncommon courage and sacrifice at every rank, Soldiers such as Mr. Wayne Brown, joining us today with his wife of almost 68 years, Jerrie Brown. Wayne served in the 12th Infantry Regiment during the Battle of the Bulge and was wounded three times, once at Normandy, in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, and in subsequent fighting in Germany. Remarking on the performance of 4th ID's Soldiers in Europe, General George Patton wrote in December of 1944, "So far as I know, no American Division in France has exceeded the magnificent record of the 4th Infantry Division, which has been almost continuously in action since it fought its way ashore on the 6th day of last June."
The memorial that we dedicate today also honors the courage and sacrifice of our Vietnam Veterans. From the Ia Drang Valley to Pleiku, to An Khe and Cambodia, the 4th Infantry Division more than doubled its campaign streamers in the jungles of Vietnam. No less than twelve "Steadfast and Loyal" Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted men earned the Medal of Honor, evidence of the incredible junior leadership demonstrated by our young Soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers. It includes Non-Commissioned Officers such as Gerry Howard here with us today, who represents the thousands of "Shake and Bake" NCOs upon which the Army relied to fight and win the battles of this war. Serving in the 8th Infantry Regiment, Gerry was the Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Leader for his unit, leading from the front for the duration of his tour of duty. For his courageous actions under fire, he received two Bronze Star Medals with Valor, an Air Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
This memorial also honors the 4th Infantry Division's most recent seven campaign streamers and our Veterans serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It honors our Veterans like Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha, whose actions on 3 October 2009 rallied his small troop to resist 300 foreign fighters who sought to overrun their remote combat outpost. With absolute disregard for his safety in the face of heavy enemy fire, Staff Sergeant Romesha directed air support, reorganized the troop, and initiated a counterattack to secure Combat Outpost Keating. It is one of the great privileges of my position as the Chief of Staff of the Army to honor Soldiers like Clint. He is representative of the tens of thousands of young Veterans that have shown the American people and the world that a new "Greatest Generation" of American Soldiers has emerged during the last twelve years of war.
4th ID continues its tradition of service and sacrifice where they are needed most. The Division Headquarters has now deployed for the fifth time in 10 years, this time as the Headquarters for Regional Command-South in Kandahar, Afghanistan and supported by the 43rd Sustainment Brigade. 1st Brigade is deployed to Kuwait and will soon be relieved by 2nd Brigade. 4th Brigade will soon join the Division Headquarters in Kandahar next year. Our 4th ID Soldiers are part of the more than 70,000 Soldiers deployed worldwide overseas, 50,000 of which are in Afghanistan.
Our Army and our Soldiers are the best in the world because they stand on the shoulders of our Veterans who have come before them. This monument represents nearly 100 years of service by the Soldiers and Veterans of this great Division. This monument recognizes all those who volunteered and sacrificed their lives to make our country just a little better. This monument celebrates the camaraderie we have shared by wearing the IVY patch of this great unit. This is why we are here today.
The willingness of our country to give the Army its sons and daughters is determined by how well we take care of our own. 12 years of war has taught us the importance of building and sustaining the resiliency of our Soldiers, civilians, and Families and keeping faith with our Veterans who have served so honorably to preserve the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy every single day. Our Nation is great because the men and women throughout our history have continuously raised their right hand and volunteered to serve their country in harm's way and to defend our freedom. We must also remember that we couldn't do what we do without the steadfast support of our Families and the American people. No Soldier stands alone. Army Families and the communities that support them have shown us the meaning of resiliency, character and untiring commitment. We are forever grateful to them. This monument represents their sacrifices as well.
In closing, I want to thank you all for your service to the Nation. I wan tto thank you because you represent what is best about our Nation. What you represent is all of the steadfast and loyal Soldiers who proudly served our country. I have never been more proud to have this patch on my right shoulder as I am today. I think about all those who gave their lives, who have sacrificed so much for our country and for their unit. That is why we are here today. So thank you very much for allowing me to participate and speak at this ceremony. The strength of our Nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. The strength of our Soldiers is our Families. That is what makes us Army Strong. Steadfast and Loyal. God Bless America.
Thank you very much. (Applause).
End of Remarks.