Sustainers speak at Veterans Day celebrations
November 24, 2009
FORT KNOX, Ky. - Two members of the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) command group reached out to the communities surrounding Fort Knox last Wednesday and honored America\'s veterans in the process.
Col. Jarrold M. Reeves, deputy commander of the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), was the guest speaker for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10281's Veteran's Day celebration Wednesday in Vine Grove while Command Sgt. Maj. Willie C. Tennant, Sr., the 3d ESC's Command Sgt. Maj. performed the same duty at North Bullitt High School's Veterans Day Ceremony in Shepherdsville.
Tennant, a Pleasantville, New Jersey native, was the guest of the school's JROTC program and kicked off the event as ceremonial commander of the group's rifle exhibition team. After watching the students perform a series of rifle drills, Tennant was introduced to the audience of about 1,600 faculty and students from North Bullitt High School and nearby Hebron Middle School.
Tennant began his time at the podium by asking the students a series of trivia questions about military engagements throughout American history and having an assistant toss 3d ESC T-shirts to the students who answered his questions correctly.
Tennant began addressing the crowd by talking about the meaning of military service and reading off the Soldier's Creed, which the students responded to with enthusiastic applause. He then told the story of Pvt. 1st Class Josh Lucas, a Soldier who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for throwing himself on two grenades to protect other Soldiers during the World War II battle of Iwo Jima, when he was just seventeen, the exact age of many students in the audience, Tennant noted. Tennant went on to tell the students why they should honor America's veterans and how they can do that by growing into productive and patriotic adults.
"Vote in every election; write letters to the editor of your local paper; volunteer your time for a worthy cause; fulfill your jury duty," Tennant told the students. "Represent your country well while abroad; ensure you are registered for Selective Service, and, yes, at least consider serving your nation in uniform."
Allison Underwood, battalion commander of the North Bullitt High School JROTC, reacted to Tennant's speech saying she was "very excited for us" and remarked on how interactive his speech was and how well he kept the students' attention.
First Sergeant Mark Firestone, 1st Sgt. of the JROTC program, said Tennant did a "super job" and added, "It's important for the kids to see someone in uniform" and understand the Army's various missions.
Shortly after Tennant finished his speech at North Bullitt High School, Col. Reeves began his speech to the VFW post in Vine Grove.
VFW post 10281 has reached out to several units returning from combat in the Fort Knox community to include the 233rd Transportation Company and the 3d ESC. Reeves said speaking at the celebration was an honor, as VFW post 10281 sponsored welcome home events for the 3d ESC upon its return to Fort Knox from Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"It is a privilege for me to honor a very special group of Americans today - American veterans," said Reeves, an Atlanta native. "Our nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service spans every decade, and continues every day of our country's existence."
"Through untold courage and sacrifice, America's veterans have secured the liberty which the founding fathers sought to establish here in the new world."
According to the post's senior vice commander, Steven D. Egan, having Reeves speak at the celebration was a major highlight of such a special day. "From my experiences with Col. Reeves, he is a support and Soldier oriented human being," said Egan, a Lawrenceburg, Ind., native. "By having Soldiers like Col. Reeves on active-duty, I feel our Army is in good hands."
For their part, although their audiences were very different, both Command Sgt. Maj. Tennant and Col. Reeves were proud to commemorate Veterans Day with friends and neighbors of the Fort Knox community.
Photos and story by Sgt. 1st Class Dave McClain and Spc. Michael Behlin, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs. For queries, contact 3d Sustainment Command Public Affairs at: (502) 624-8601. For high-resolution photos and stories by the 3d Sustainment Command, please contact the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System by calling (678) 421-6612 or access them online at http://www.dvidshub.net/units/3sce.