World War II veterans visit APG
October 15, 2009
A group of World War II veterans from Hanover, Pa., enjoyed a lunch with Aberdeen Proving Ground Soldiers, the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum and the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center and a chat with the Garrison Command Sergeant Major during a visit to the installation Sept. 22.
Fred Posadas, an operations specialist with the Garrison S-3, met the group from the Homewood Plum Creek Retirement Community at the Route 715 Gate and escorted them to the dining facility where they met with Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades and Master Sgt. Dennis A. Westbrooks, the first sergeant of the U.S. Air Force Detachment.
Rhoades talked about World War II and shared his own war experiences in Somalia and during Desert Storm.
"I say that because what you all have done for us made a significant impact on our way of life," he told the group. He thanked them for their service on behalf of Maj. Gen. Paul S. Izzo, commander of APG and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.
"It's an honor for me to be here with you today and I look forward to hearing your stories," Rhoades said.
Westbrooks added his appreciation, noting that the USAF Detachment has been at APG for 35 years but will depart next year due to base realignment and closure.
"Our relationship with the Army will end so far as welding goes, so any opportunity we have to participate in events like this, we're all for it," he said.
Rhoades distributed garrison coins to each veteran and then group members ate lunch in the facility, mingling with the installation Soldiers.
"We get a mixture of visitors here, but not as distinguished as these gentlemen," said dining facility manager Michael Boyle as he guided the veterans through the line. "It's a pleasure for us to serve them," Boyle said.
Posadas said the veterans, 38 in all, enjoyed the tanks and weapons at the Ordnance Museum and got to ride on military vehicles like the M-1 Bradley and the Stryker during their tour of ATC.
"They visit every year and this is one trip they really enjoyed," he said.