As Fort Jackson's newest graduating Soldiers marched in their shiny black low quarters during
pass and review on Hilton Field May 18, the past followed shortly behind them.

About 20 veterans lined up to march in 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment's graduation
ceremony as part of a series of events for Retiree Appreciation Days.

Retiree Appreciation Days is a way to give honor to those who served in the military.

"At least it's not as bad as being out at Darby Field at 9 a.m. on a Sunday," laughed retired Chief
Warrant Officer 5 David Ratliff about the weather during the march. Ratliff also serves as the secretary of the Fort Jackson Retiree Council.

Fort Jackson is known for its hot, humid climate.

This environment is what made the area attractive to the U.S. Army 100 years ago as a training
base. The installation will celebrate its centennial next month.

Just like any other Thursday on the installation when a graduation is happening, the past, the present and the future of the military all come together to exist in one spot. This graduation was slightly different because Vietnam-era veterans were honored and pinned during the ceremony.
This year marks 50 years since the Vietnam War.

"We've been doing Retiree Appreciation Days for the last 13 years and it's a really telling event,"
said retired Col. Mike Molosso and chairman for the Fort Jackson Retiree Council. "You can really
see the cycle of the lifestyle of the Army front and center. The past, present and the future."

Retired Lt. Col. Joseph H. Maurer was the guest speaker at the graduation. He talked about his time
at Fort Jackson during the sixties.

"Though much has changed many things remain the same. Still here could be found the best
trainers in the Army, still here is the finest military training in the world that is conducted in the most
efficient and safest manner and still, as it has for the last century, Victory starts here, right here,"
said Maurer.

Retiree Appreciation Days at Fort Jackson ran May 18 to 20. Some of the events available to
retirees during the days were a golf tournament, a Retiree Health and Benefits Expo, Bingo and

"I always say if you want to see what right looks like, come to Fort Jackson," said Molosso. "Fort
Jackson always does right by it's Family, Soldiers and retirees."