Marne Soldiers support Veterans Day in Coastal Empire
November 17, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Hundreds of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Soldiers with the Third Infantry Division left their footprint throughout the Coastal Empire last weekend as they marched into Georgia and South Carolina communities honoring the nation's veterans, past and present, and participated in more than 15 Veterans Day events.
Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, is an annual U.S. holiday held to honor military veterans, Nov. 11.
The 3rd Sustainment Brigade jumpstarted the Division's Veterans Day activities, Nov. 10, as the brigade's Executive Officer, Lt. Col. Alexander Monteith, addressed students, faculty and staff during the Richmond Hill High School Veterans Day Assembly.
"We can thank our American heroes, our veterans, for their role in maintaining our nation's liberty and assisting in freeing hundreds of millions of women and men across the world since 1775," Lt. Col. Monteith said. "These veterans and our current active and reserve Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airman and Coast Guardsmen have all chosen to serve a cause greater than themselves and have made a tremendous contribution to democracy across the world."
The brigade's Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Eddie Gillon, shared in a similar address the next day as he spoke to an audience of 400 people during the Sun City Veterans Association Veterans Day program in Hilton Head, S.C., Nov. 11.
"Today, we continue to celebrate those who defend and have defended our great country,"Lt. Col. Gillon said. ""I am reminded each day of the sacrifices of the brave service members who gave everything they had in order to improve the world for the next generation."
Lieutenant Colonel Gillon then recognized two of the 3rd Inf. Div.'s Purple Heart recipients, Staff Sgt. Cory Surla, a medic at Winn Army Community Hospital who was injured in an explosion in Iraq, and Sgt. Christopher Lowe, from the Warrior Transition Battalion, who was shot in the leg by an enemy sniper while serving in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Colonel Gillon thanked them both for their service, and encouraged them to follow the example of the veterans who served before them.
Colonel Kimo Gallahue, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, reflected on service members' achievements and efforts as he spoke during the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6602 Veterans Day Observance in Hinesville.
"A veteran is someone who has worn a uniform for the service of our nation, and that uniform was really a symbol of selfless service," said Col. Gallahue, who spoke at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to about 200 attendees. "It was a symbol of belonging, standing for something much bigger than any individual need or desire."
In addition to motivational speeches throughout military supporting communities, 3rd Inf. Div. Soldiers also supported annual Veterans Day parades, marching in Brunswick's Golden Iles; Beaufort County, S.C.; in Liberty County; and Savannah's 62nd annual Veterans Day Parade.
"We normally get sailors here, not Soldiers," said Tina Vogler, a resident of Brunswick, who watched as about 75 Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team participated in her hometown festivities. "It gave me goose bumps to see them marching in my town."
Seventy more Soldiers with 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Bde., marched 20 blocks in Beaufort, stepping last into the city's National Cemetery where many veterans lie.
More than 200 Soldiers with the Combat Aviation Brigade participated in the 62nd annual Savannah Veterans Day Parade and 250 4IBCT Soldiers marched in Liberty County.
Fourth IBCT Family Member, Nichole Ackles, said that attending the Veterans Day parade was important to her, to show her support and gratitude for those who defend our nation.
"To me Veterans Day is a day that I can reflect upon the sacrifices made by so many people and the Soldiers today," she said. "It's just a day that I think all Americans should take to remember and honor all that the [service members] have gone through."
Colonel Douglass Cardinale, commander of the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div. said that Veterans Day is also about honoring Family Members as he spoke during a Veterans Day ceremony held at Richmond Hill's J.F. Gregory Park.
"It is critical that we acknowledge the sacrifices they make being a part of the Armed Forces Family," Col. Cardinale said. "To the success of our mission. They show their support in so many different ways, and have done so in every conflict that we have been a part of. They have written an uncountable number of letters and emails. And sent enough care packages to fill the countries our Warriors have fought in. Their care and love has been noticed and felt by our Soldiers throughout history. Their support reminds us that we are not in this fight alone."
Editor's Note: Information in this article was provided by Spc. Rochelle Krueger, Pfc. Justin Mills, Sgt. Dustin Gautney, Staff Sgt. Christopher Blakeslee, Staff Sgt. Tanya Thomas and Sgt. 1st Class Rhonda Lawson.