By Mitch Meador, Fort Sill TribuneApril 4, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla. (April 4, 2019) -- In a first for Lawton-Fort Sill, the 95th Division Legacy Association will have its 70th reunion of "The Iron Men of Metz" here May 16-19.
The 95th Infantry Division was formed in 1942. It trained all over the United States prior to going into France in 1944. The Germans nicknamed its Soldiers "The Iron Men of Metz" after units of the 95th fought a fierce battle, captured the German commander, and liberated the people of Metz, France, on Nov. 22, 1944.
As part of Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army in World War II, the 95th fought many battles in northern France, the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe from September 1944 through April 1945.
Terry Earnest, a member of the 95th Infantry Division Foundation, cited two key factors in choosing Lawton Fort Sill for this year's reunion: One, the 95th Infantry Division Memorial is located at Fort Sill, and two, the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce provided $2,500 to help offset costs.
"We've been very pleased with both the hotel and the Chamber of Commerce support we've gotten," Earnest said.
Before the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), 95th Division (Institutional Training) was headquartered in the Maj. Gen. Harry L. Twaddle U.S. Army Reserve Center in Oklahoma City. Part of the BRAC recommendations included construction of the $45 million Fort Sill Armed Forces Reserve Center, Building 3955 Cannoneer Road, and upon its completion 95th Division headquarters relocated here.
With the help of a grant from Lawton's McMahon Foundation, contents of the 95th Division Memorial came here from Oklahoma City in 2012. As part of the 95th Division's 65th reunion held in Oklahoma City in April 2014, attendees were bused to Fort Sill to rededicate the memorial.
How to register
Registration forms for the upcoming 70th reunion can be downloaded from the 95th Division Legacy Association website at Caution-https://www.95divassociation.com/ . Mail completed forms and checks to 95th Infantry Division Association, P.O. Box 1113, Oklahoma City, OK 73101.
Events include tours of the 95th Division Memorial and the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum. Viewing of the Lawton Fort Sill Armed Forces Day Parade will be an added bonus. Approximately 125 guests are expected for the formal banquet May 18. During the banquet a representative of France will award the French Legion of Honor to three of the 95th's World War II veterans, Earnest said.
It's traditional for the 95th Division to hold a "Metz Hour" on the Sunday morning that concludes each reunion. This one will be May 19 at 11 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn. There will be a guest speaker and a recognition of veterans who have died within the last year. Although he will not be able to attend the reunion, it's noteworthy that Army Training and Doctrine Command's 2018 Drill Sergeant of the Year is an Army Reservist with the 95th Division. Sgt. Devin Crawford of Mount Pleasant, Wis., competed as a member of 3-334th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 95th Training Division, 108th Training Command.
The host hotel for the 70th reunion will be the Hilton Garden Inn, 135 NW 2nd. Earnest said 50 rooms have been booked for the event. Rooms will be available May 15. Group rate is $113.35 with taxes and complimentary breakfast for all registered guests.
Limited suites are available for $145.42 with taxes and complimentary breakfast (you can only book suites over the phone). Call the hotel directly at 580-280-2100, select option "0" and ask for group G19595 or 95th Infantry Division. The cutoff date for these rates is April 21.
The reunion schedule is:
Thursday is a free day when most of the 95th Division's guests will arrive. There are no planned activities. There is time to explore, renew acquaintances, or relax. The hospitality room, Bison AB, will open sometime Thursday afternoon.
8:30 a.m. -- Buses depart hotel for 95th Infantry Division Memorial
9 a.m. -- Arrive at 95th Infantry Division Memorial
9:15 a.m. -- Tour 95th Infantry Division Memorial
10:30 a.m. -- Buses depart memorial for the Army Field Artillery Museum
10:45 a.m. -- Tour Army Field Artillery Museum
11:45 a.m. -- Buses depart the Army Field Artillery Museum for hotel
12:15 a.m. -- Buses arrive at hotel/lunch in the Elk Room
1:30-6 p.m. -- Hospitality suite open in Bison AB
3-5 p.m. -- 95th Division Legacy Association meeting in Great Plains DE
6 p.m. -- Dinner at hotel in Great Plains A
7:15-11 p.m. -- Hospitality suite open in Bison AB May 18
9:15 a.m. -- Buses depart for Armed Forces Day Parade
9:30 a.m. -- Buses unload at parade grandstand
10:15 a.m. -- Armed Forces Day Parade begins
11:30 a.m. -- Buses depart for hotel
11:45 a.m. -- Buses arrive at hotel
Noon -- Luncheons begin, with Victory Belles (primarily the wives) in Great Plains C and non-Victory Belles in the Elk Room
1:30 -4 p.m. -- Hospitality suite open in Bison AB
2-3:30 p.m. -- 95th Infantry Division Foundation board meeting in the board room
6 p.m. -- Reception begins in the Great Plains Pre-Function Area
7-9:30 p.m. -- Banquet in Great Plains B
9:30-11:30 p.m. -- Hospitality suite open in Bison AB Sunday, May 19
9:30 a.m. -- Catholic service in Bison C and Protestant service in Great Plains DE
11 a.m. -- Metz Hour in Great Plains DE
Noon -- Adjournment and departure