Spartan Soldiers connect with veterans
July 2, 2009
<B> MCRAE, Ga. </B> Veterans from American Legion Post 80 in McRae, Ga. came to Fort Stewart to see the changes the military has gone through since their active duty days and visit Soldiers from 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division to talk with the current modern-day warriors in person, June 25.
The diverse group of veterans that visited Fort Stewart included World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and Desert Storm combat veterans.
"We travelled the 90 miles to get here to have a chance to see first hand what kind of changes the military has gone through as well as compare our lives with those of current Soldiers," said Donald Davenport, Post 80 commander, and Desert Storm combat veteran.
Davenport, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant, and former Fort Stewart Soldier was especially excited about returning to Fort Stewart and seeing how much of his old stomping grounds has changed.
"It is amazing how much of the post has changed since my time here," said Davenport. "Going out on highway 144 to the training grounds brings back the most memories."
Of his fondest memories, Davenport said he loved field training on Fort Stewart and being the aggressor, as he called it. He recalled "messing" with junior Soldiers that were not fully alert while on watch.
"I remember there was this one time a Soldier was on guard at night. You could see he was trying to read a book with the red-colored light on his flashlight, so he was not fully paying attention to his post. I snuck up behind him and lobbed a (grenade simulator) near him. The surprise he had from the sound of the concussion was something I or he would never forget," said Davenport.
The veterans were treated with displays of current combat weaponry as well as a chance to meet with Soldiers first hand to share their experiences. The veterans were also excited to hear stories from current Soldiers about their deployment experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It was great to meet with the veterans. If it was not for veterans like them defending my parents and this country, then I would not exist. It makes me proud to stand up like they did and defend future generations," said Pfc. Curtis Langford, 3rd Squadron, 7th Calvary, 2nd HBCT.
After meeting with the Spartan Soldiers, the veterans were treated by a tour from Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo of a modern Tactical Operations Command post at Evans Army Airfield, which was in use for the 3rd Infantry Division's training exercise.
This tour was followed by a trip to see Warrior's Walk, a lasting tribute to fallen Soldiers of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The veterans said without a doubt their favorite part of the trip was the chance to meet and talk to current active duty Soldiers.
"There is a bond between active duty Soldiers and veterans," Domoney said. "We see ourselves in them and they see themselves in us."