By Jessica Healey, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs January 10, 2014
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Members of the Army Field Support Battalion-Riley, visited veterans Dec. 18 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Topeka, to share lunch and camaraderie with the men and women who served before them.
"This trip was part of the Veterans visiting Veterans program that my predecessor established. So we call it triple V. We try to get out once a quarter and go visit some veterans," said Lt. Col. Daniel Duncan, commander, AFSBn-Riley. "These guys were part of some really serious battles in their time, and it's neat to sit down with those gentlemen. That generation is hard to find, and it's getting harder to find every day."
Some of the veterans fought in World War II, and even with the "Big Red One" -- the 1st Infantry Division, located at Fort Riley, Kan.
The battalion, located at Fort Riley, falls under the 407th Army Field Support Brigade, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas. The battalion is one of four that report to the brigade. The brigade is one of seven that are with the Army Sustainment Command, headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
ASC's mission is to support Army and joint forces in support of the combat commanders around the world. The battalion supports Fort Riley logistically and consists of about 50 people, the majority of which are civilians and also veterans.
About 10 members of the battalion made the trip to Topeka to visit the veterans. Topeka is the capital of Kansas and is about 60 miles straight east of Fort Riley.
"We think it really means a lot to these guys when we come and visit, and show that they are appreciated. What they did in their time of service was significant. It contributed to where we are today," Duncan said.
It was especially important to make a visit around the holiday season, he said, so veterans knew they were remembered and to show them appreciation. Duncan said he believes the warm welcome Soldiers now receive upon redeployment comes from the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans who weren't always welcomed back.
"I contribute (our welcome) directly to the legacy of the Vietnam veterans because those guys were not welcomed back, and I think America learned its lesson," Duncan said. "We're the beneficiaries of that lesson. I want to pass along some of those thanks that I get to the Vietnam veterans who didn't get (those) thanks, but (they) kept the faith and remained professional during their time."
Many of the veterans are native Kansans, Duncan said, so the group also had the opportunity to not only learn about the veteran's era of service, but also about the state's history.
"The intent is to do something to engage with the community, but really, I think we almost get more out of it than they do, as far as return on the investment. It's really a good trip to go on, and it just keeps us tied to our community," he said.