By Ms. Dawn M Arden (Leonard Wood)August 16, 2017
Thirty-seven chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear Soldiers from Company B, 84th Chemical Battalion, were welcomed into the Chemical Regiment during a Regimental Induction Ceremony held Aug. 4 in the Chemical Memorial Grove.
Morning mist hung in the air for Soldiers filing past the war-torn tree trunk statue, touching it as they passed, linking them to all who have gone before them.
The Soldiers each repeated the Chemical Regimental motto, "Elementis Regamus Proelium" (we rule the battle through the elements). Their words ehoed throughout the hallowed grove.
"It's like a rite of passage ceremony," said. Capt. Don Yoo, Co. B, 84th Chem. Bn., executive officer. "It's held right before graduation, and is their culminating event where we welcome them into our corps."
Once seated, 18 students took turns reciting various significant parts of Chemical Corps history from the European battlefields of World War I to present day.
This history includes trench warfare in World War I, from which the war-torn tree trunk derives, and the Korean War, where the corps conducted the longest smoke mission, a smoke screen that protected troop movements for 14 months.
"The biggest part of this ceremony is the Soldiers reciting the history of the Chemical Corps," Yoo said. "The Chemical Corps has a deep-rooted history dating back to World War I, so it's good for them to know our history."
"It gives them a sense of pride in their own branch, and that's why we do it here at Memorial Grove when weather permits. It gives them an opportunity to look at all of the memorial stones and the history contained here," Yoo added.
Following the history of the corps, senior leaders from the battalion congratulated each of the Soldiers as they pinned the Chemical Corps crest to their uniforms.
This crest consists of a battle-scarred tree trunk, taken from the 1st Chemical Regiments' Coat of Arms, and a green dragon, which symbolizes the fire and destruction caused by chemical warfare.
According to Yoo, the Soldiers memorize and internalize their corps' rich history while preparing for the ceremony, allowing them to feel more connected to it, and to understand the importance of their chosen Military Occupational Specialty as they prepare to graduate from Advanced Individual Training.
"Learning the history makes me feel very proud," said Pvt. Zayne Platz, corps inductee. "I feel like we're part of the MOS now, part of the corps."
Pfc. Trey Riley, corps inductee, agreed with Platz, adding that he looks forward to someday being a part of the induction of future Soldiers.
"There is a long history in the Chemical Corps, and we're the ones who get to carry that lineage on," Riley said. "Eventually we'll be doing this for future Soldiers."