NEW YORK CITY - Braving cold temperatures and blustery winds, Soldiers of the 80th Training Command and 77th Sustainment Brigade represented the Army Reserve at the New York City Veterans Day Parade Nov. 11, 2017. This parade marked a perfect opportunity for these units to celebrate their 100th anniversaries and the World War I centennial.
Also attending, Maj. Gen. Mark W. Palzer, commander of the 79th Theater Sustainment Command, represented the U.S. Army Reserve at the mayor's breakfast honoring veterans, the opening wreath laying ceremony and on the parade review stand.
"It is important we honor those whose footsteps of service we follow," said Palzer. "It's important we remember those who paid the price for freedom a century ago, and educate our military members, civilian employees and the American public about the modern Army's century of service."
This year's parade honored all veterans, while commemorating the centennial of the United States entry into WWI in 1917.
In August 1917, the 80th Infantry Division was established at Camp Lee, Virginia. During WWI, the 80th Infantry Division was the only unit in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign that saw action during each phase of the offensive for a total of three times. The division never once failed in its objective and ranked first of all National Army Divisions by the U.S. War Department.
Similarly, the 77th began as an infantry division in August 1917. The 77th ID trained at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, earning them the nickname "Statue of Liberty" division. It was the first Army Reserve division to land in France, where they took over part of the front line. Like the 80th, the 77th fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
Fast forward 100 years. The 80th ID transitioned to the 80th Training Command, now headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. The 77th ID transitioned to the 77th Sustainment Brigade, which calls Fort Dix, New Jersey its home.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric Goodwin, of the 3rd Brigade Civil Affairs/Military Information Special Operations, 102nd Training Division, 80th Training Command, was one of the many service members who participated. He shared his thoughts about marching in the nationally televised event.
"It's a great opportunity to represent the Army Reserve. It felt good to be here, to be appreciated by the American people," said Goodwin. "My 12-year-old son, Eric Junior, watched the parade from home. He thought it was really cool to see his dad on television."
Sgt. 1st Class Karl Patrick travelled with Goodwin and other Soldiers from their brigade headquarters at Fort Totten, New York, to march in the parade. Patrick reflected on why this Veterans Day is more special than in previous years.
"I believe it's important to preserve the historical significance of the 100 years of service that the 80th has given to our country," said Patrick. "A centennial anniversary only happens once in a lifetime, so you just can't ignore it. We are here to honor America's veterans for their patriotism and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good."
As America honors and remembers those who served in WWI, Palzer explained that it is important to know the genesis of today's professional Soldier was borne out of the WWI American Expeditionary Force.
"It was the adaptive and creative problem solving leadership that allowed the United States to quickly grow the Army of just 100,000 to four million and mobilize to engage and be successful on the Western Front," said Palzer. "Today, leaders and Soldiers continue to adapt and learn the critical nature of combat arms on a new, modern battlefield."