By Staff Sgt. Mark MirandaDecember 18, 2014
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - The Lewis Army Museum held a ribbon cutting ceremony Dec. 12, to commemorate the opening of a gallery dedicated to 7th Infantry Division history.
"The work that was done to make this new gallery possible is incredibly important," said Capt. Erich Roberts, 7th Inf. Div. Commander's Initiatives Group. "It recognizes all who have worn our patch before us, highlights the sacrifices that were made by Bayonet Soldiers throughout our history, and helps link current Soldiers to our past while writing future chapters of our Army's history."
From the division beginnings in Camp Wheeler Georgia in 1917, through the Korean War, operations in Panama to today, the exhibit displays much of the "Bayonet Division" history.
In opening remarks, Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, Commander, 7th Infantry Division, thanked Museum Director Myles Grant and museum specialist Synthia Santos, who led the efforts to create the 7th Inf. Div. gallery.
"The 7th Infantry Division artifacts have kind of made the rounds, moving from Fort Ord, California and Fort Carson (Colorado); the division took the initiative to bring the pieces back here, where we took custody of the majority of that collection," Grant said. "A few selected items are on display in the 7th Inf. Div. headquarters building, but most of them are part of the display we'll be unveiling today."
The ceremony was also an opportunity to induct two 7th Inf. Div. Soldiers into the Order of the Bayonet, a division tradition, authorized to members of the 7th Infantry Division for personal performance of duties deemed by a commander to be "above and beyond the call." The ceremony inducted Spc. Nicholas Jackson and Staff Sgt. Peter Kacapyr, both with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment and recently recognized as the 2014 I Corps Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
Previous Fort Lewis and 7th Inf. Div. commander, retired Lt. Gen. William H. Harrison, joined Ferrell for the ribbon cutting to open the gallery.
The exhibit features a full size diorama of a Korean War-era 7th Inf. Div. Soldier in his fighting position, mannequin displays of past and current uniforms, several photos, weapons and equipment actually used by division Soldiers, and historical maps.
"To have a place in this museum to display 7th Infantry Division History is of the utmost importance, we need to carry this on so that the division story is always told through pictures, display cases - they will know what you and those who came before you have done," Ferrell said.
Support and funding for the museum is provided by a group of several hundred Friends of the Lewis Army Museum. The entrance lobby desk is where The Friends of the Museum Store operates.
Currently the museum is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.