• FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. Walter Stockard teaches Kathleen Kress Hanson how to shoot an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon after the Medal of Honor ceremony Oct. 6. Hanson, 1st Sgt. David H. McNerney's niece, attended the ceremony and open house with current 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Soldiers

    'Fighting Eagles:' past meets present

    FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. Walter Stockard teaches Kathleen Kress Hanson how to shoot an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon after the Medal of Honor ceremony Oct. 6. Hanson, 1st Sgt. David H. McNerney's niece, attended the ceremony and open house with...

  • FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Veterans of 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, pose with current Soldiers from the unit at an open house Oct. 6.

    'Fighting Eagles:' past meets present

    FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Veterans of 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, pose with current Soldiers from the unit at an open house Oct. 6.

  • FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Sgt. Alfred Gallegos stands with Susan Kress Wilson as she holds a rocket launcher at an Oct. 6 open house with Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Wilson, the niece of 1st Sgt. David H. McNerney, joined family members to honor her uncle at a Medal of Honor ceremony held at Fort Carson.

    'Fighting Eagles:' past meets present

    FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Sgt. Alfred Gallegos stands with Susan Kress Wilson as she holds a rocket launcher at an Oct. 6 open house with Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Wilson, the niece...

  • FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Family member May Day Taylor tries on a helmet at an Oct. 6 open house with 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

    'Fighting Eagles:' past meets present

    FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Family member May Day Taylor tries on a helmet at an Oct. 6 open house with 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

  • FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Spc. Dustin Beeman, right, teaches Jeff Allard about an M4 carbine 
at an Oct. 6 open house with 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Allard attended the open house after the Medal of Honor ceremony for his wife's uncle, 1st Sgt. David H. McNerney.

    'Fighting Eagles:' past meets present

    FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Spc. Dustin Beeman, right, teaches Jeff Allard about an M4 carbine at an Oct. 6 open house with 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Allard attended the open house after the Medal...

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- As 35 mph winds howled across Range 13 Alpha, a small arms range, Kathleen Kress Hanson took off her black jacket, handing it to her husband.

"Hold this," she said as she kneeled on the Army poncho next to Staff Sgt. Walter Stockard, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

Laying flat on the poncho, Hanson looked through the site of the M249 machine gun, her pearls blowing in the wind. She pulled the trigger, firing off more than a dozen rounds in less than 10 seconds.

"That was fun," she said, wiping the dust from her red cocktail dress.

Hanson and her family members joined Soldiers and veterans of companies A and B, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg., at an open house, following the Oct. 6 dedication for the Medal of Honor of 1st Sgt. David H. McNerney, Hanson's uncle.

Still dressed in their formal attire, family members and Soldiers that served with McNerney in the 1960s met with current Soldiers to learn how serving in the Army has changed since the Vietnam War.

"We didn't wear ear plugs," said David Vigliotti, laughing.

Vigliotti served with Company A, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg., during Vietnam and joined his men on the range to fire rifles, machine guns and the M4 carbine -- a shortened form of the M16A2 rifle, which was not introduced into the service until 1994.

"The weapons are much smaller now," he said. "There's a lot of high-tech used now that we just didn't have back then. This kind of stuff makes a world of difference for the Soldier."

Veterans swapped war stories with current Soldiers, recounting the events of March 22, 1967, which earned McNerney the Medal of Honor.

"It's pretty amazing," said Sgt. Alfred Gallegos, an infantryman, Company A, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg. "Anything I've been through during my time in the military doesn't compare to what they went through."

Many of the veterans recounted McNerney's heroic actions for the younger generation.

"We honored that man," said Vigliotti. "He saved our lives and the Soldiers today really did a beautiful job honoring him with us."

McNerney's other Soldiers agreed.

"The 4th Inf. Div. has gone above and beyond to show their appreciation," said Joby McAulay, a former machine gunner with Company A, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg.

For the current Soldiers serving with 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg., the honor of meeting the older veterans was theirs.

"They always shake our hands and thank us for our service, but they're the ones we need to thank," Gallegos said.

"They didn't get the homecoming that we do today," said 1st Lt. Matt Brooks of Company B, 1st Bn., 8th. Inf. Reg. "So anything we can do to show our appreciation, we're happy to do it."

Page last updated Thu October 13th, 2011 at 00:00