By Capt. Eileen C Hernandez (FORSCOM)May 12, 2015
FORT HOOD, Texas -- 3rd Battalion of the 82nd Field Artillery Regiment colors were cased during a re-designation ceremony May 5 on Cooper Field here. Immediately following colors casing, the unit reflagged as 3rd Battalion of the 16th Field Artillery Regiment.
"It has been a humbling experience getting to lead Soldiers under the colors of the Red Dragon battalion and I look forward to the opportunity that awaits us in the Republic of Korea as the Rolling Thunder battalion turns the page within its history book," said Lt. Col. Terry Clark, 3-16 FA Regiment commander.
"I welcome 3rd Battalion of the 16th Field Artillery regiment into the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team." said Col. Sean Bernabe, 2nd ABCT commander. "I am confident that they will bring a continued success and honor to the legacy and heritage of that Regiment and those colors under which they will now train and fight under."
"Today is a glorious day," said Jim Kilpatrick, former Bravo Co. commander of 3-16 during the Vietnam War and Silver Star recipient. "I am so happy to see the 3-16th become part of the 1st Calvary Division."
The historically significant ceremony drew attendees from across the country. Vietnam War battle buddies, Vernon Chapman and Allen Merrill--who recently reconnected with each other after 40 years--traveled from Texas and South Dakota to attend the ceremony.
"Gun 3--that was the gun we were on in Vietnam," said Chapman.
"All of our buddies from Gun 3 are still around and we make sure we look after each other," said Merrill. "One of our buddies said he was having some trouble with PTSD and we all pulled out our cell phones to take down his number and we call him to check up on him."
"It's about taking care of one another, even after all of these years," said Chapman.
After the official ceremony, distinguished guests enjoyed a cake cutting ceremony where retired Maj. Gen. Thomas Lightner, former battalion commander of the 3-16th FA, cut the cake, which displayed both unit insignias.
"I aimed for the middle of the cake but it might just be a quarter inch larger on the 3-16th side," said Lightner.
After some good natured laughter, Lightner took a moment to recognize the importance of the occasion.
"Today is about two distinguished units who have served our Army and country to the highest degree of professionalism that you would expect," said Lightner.
The 3-16th FA Regiment will deploy to Korea for nine months in June. During the deployment, the 2ABCT will continue to support the United States military partnership with the Republic of Korea.