3rd ID supports Veterans Day events in surrounding areas
November 17, 2010
<b>FORT STEWART, Ga.</b> - Veterans Day 2010 is a memory. But for those who participated, sat back in the audience, stood on the streets, or had some other form of involvement, it will be one to remember.
Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division were involved in various events throughout the areas, not only on the actual day of celebration, but in events that led up to Veterans Day and beyond the day of recognition.
Many veterans got a hero's reception at Veterans Day events this year.
They began with Col. Peter Hoffman, chief strategic partnerships, 3rd ID, who gave tribute to Chapter 671's Vietnam Veterans of America at a ceremony, held beside the Vietnam Memorial in Emmet Park, Nov. 5. He talked about their contributions to our nation, despite the ridicule and scorn they received for their service when they returned. Additional 3rd ID support at the ceremony included an invocation from Chaplain (Capt.) Anthony Keim, 260th Quartermaster Battalion; a 21-gun salute from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade's firing party, and a performance from the 3rd Sustainment Brigades' Brass Quintet.
The 2nd annual Veterans Day Parade in Hineville began 9 a.m., Nov. 6. Parade organizer Dennis Firtzerald, chairman of the Liberty County Veterans Council and commander of American Legion Post 321, said that the parade was a way for Liberty County to honor and take pride in all veterans, no matter what conflict or war they served. In the parade, the 3rd ID was represented with Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen, the division color guard and marching Soldiers of the division. One 3rd ID Soldier, Spc. Ana Cormer of 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, who has been in the Army just more than three years, was experiencing her first time in a Veterans Day Parade.
"I get to meet other Soldiers that I serve with in the division, plus it is an honor to get to talkto the older veterans who have served before me," Spc. Cormer said.
World War II veterans received special recognition at the dedication of the newly erected World War II monument, a 20-foot bronze and copper globe on River Street, Nov. 7. Brigadier General Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd ID deputy commanding general, gave riveting remarks to hundreds of attendees, including 250 local veterans who were special guests at the event.
Pulaski Elementary had a special program that saluted all veterans, Nov. 10. Students read essays about the meaning of Veterans Day to the crowd of parents who attended, many of them service members from Hunter Army Airfield. Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Command Sergeant Major Gilbert Adkins also spoke to students, encouraging them to study hard to reach their goals. The 3ID Marne-Tastics Band played patriotic and contemporary songs before and after the program.
On Nov.10, Richmond Hill High School brought their best and their brightest front and center to honor the servicemembers and retirees for Veterans Day. One of the speakers was Maj. Jesse Wightman, executive officer, 260th Quartermaster Bn.
"We owe [our past veterans] a debt of gratitude," Maj. Wightman said.
Major Wightman told the audience the story of his grandfather, Billy Jene Rose, then Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class, who joined the Navy in 1943, after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Major Wightman than sent a message to the students sitting before him about the importance of where they are at.
"In a world of tough demands, it is imperative to get a good education," Maj. Wightman said. "Without a solid education in today's economy, you will lose your ability to succeed in the future. I encourage you to invest all of your energy into your education."
Savannah's annual Veterans Day Parade attracted members of the military community and civilians, Nov. 11. The 3rd ID procession in the parade began with the historic, and recently restored, 3rd ID fire truck; followed by Brig. Gen. Phillips and Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashman, 3rd ID command sergeant major. They were followed by other senior leaders, along with the division's color guard from the Special Troops Battalion, and lastly, a marching formation of Soldiers which included 80 members of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; 80 members of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, and 20 Soldiers from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade.
"This is a special time for all veterans," said Bob Burehard, a Vietnam War veteran, who watched the 3ID elements line up for the parade in Forsyth Park's staging area. Burehard said that after many years of shame, he felt that "it was finally OK to be a Vietnam veteran."
Earlier that morning, Burehard helped Chapter 671 of the Vietnam Veterans of America at its annual JROTC drill competition in Forsyth Park. Joining him were other chapter representatives, including Charles Whitfield, who heads up the annual competition between JROTC programs at area high schools for the best drill and ceremony team. This year's winner among the seven schools that competed were the defending champions from Richmond Hill High School; second place went to the Jenkins High School. Marne Divison support for the competition included three judges- Sgt. Maj. Ricky Davis, Sgt. Maj. Larry Sledge, and Sgt. Maj. Olivette Stephney- all from the Division Special Troops Battalion. Before presenting the first-place trophy, Sgt. Maj. Davis congratulated the competitors and shared how he started his military career in a JROTC program.
"You're getting a good foundation," he said. "You're all to be commended. It's not easy to showcase standards, disciplines and precisions."
The annual Massing of the Colors at Savannah Christian Church concluded the 3rd ID supported Savannah events, Nov. 14. Twenty-three groups of color guards from different military services, veterans, law enforcement, scouting and other organizations participated in honoring the American flag and our Nation. Brig. Gen. Phillips served as keynote speaker; Chaplain (Col.) Warren Kirby gave the blessing of troops and homage to the flag. Other support included the 3rd ID Color Guard, the 3rd ID Brass Quintet and a 3rd ID NCO to represent the Army in a services roll call.