3rd ID supports local seafood festival
Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashmen, 3rd Infantry Division command sergeant major-rear, addresses the opening ceremony of the Ogeechee Seafood Festival in Richmond Hill, while Geechee, the mascot of the festival looks on, Oct. 16.

<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- Staff Sergeant Arthur Stuart, the Division Special Troops Battalion Rear Detachment noncommissioned officer in charge of supply, didn't know what to expect when he became a judge at the 12th Annual Ogeechee Seafood Festival in Richmond Hill, Ga., Oct. 15-17.

After eating approximately 20 entries, he said he was going to be doing a lot of physical readiness training to make up for all of the food he had to eat for the contest.

"I am very impressed," he added, patting his stomach from all that he had eaten. "This is my first time coming here. My kids came out here earlier. They had a great time. It was a very good (reward)."

He also was impressed with how he was treated and the respect those at the festival showed the military.

"It's a great way for the community to honor the Soldiers," he said. "They are doing a really good job."

Four Soldiers were selected to be judges at the festival. The food they tasted was on sale to the public during the three-day festival. The other judges were Sgt. Tracy Gillespie, Sgt. Steven Swinton and Sgt. Samuel Hightower.

In addition to the food, there was also a carnival and numerous musical acts. Australian rock group Little River Band, who achieved international fame with singles such as "Reminiscing" and "Lonesome Loser" in the 1970s and 1980s, was the headliner.

The festival also took an opportunity to honor the military and the sacrifices they make.

Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashmen, the 3rd ID command sergeant major-rear, addressed the crowd at the opening ceremony and thanked them for the support their communities have given the local military units over the years.

"This is Georgia's division; it's your division," he said addressing the crowd. "One thing I can truly say is our communities continue to reach out and take care of our Soldiers and Families."

A year ago, he added, most of the division was deployed or preparing to deploy, but by the weekend of the festival, almost 2,000 Soldiers had returned from the combat zone.

Command Sergeant Major Ashmen also said there was a plane arriving from Iraq as he was speaking with Soldiers coming home, and that another 8,000 troops will return by the end of the year.

"You can be proud of the Dog Face Soldier," he said. "They live by the warrior ethos, and when they come home, they leave freedom in their footsteps."

The 3rd ID Color Guard also was present at the event for the playing of the national anthem.
Janet Thayer, the entertainment chairwoman for the event, had nothing but good things to say about the Soldiers who participated in it.

"The community needs to see our Soldiers out there, and we need to say 'thank you' to them every time we can," she said. "Thank you very much for everything you do. Thank you for your sacrifices, and thank you for your Families' sacrifices."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16