By Carolyn HartApril 11, 2019
As the veterans and their families take their seats, the ceremony is underway. The memorial and color casing ceremony honors the legacy of the 92nd AFA, Red Devil Battalion. They celebrate their 22nd, and final, yearly reunion at the Great Place.
Activated Jan. 9, 1942, the Red Devil Battalion left San Francisco for Korea on Aug. 12, 1950, aboard the United States Navy's "Marine Adder." The battalion arrived severely understrength and was augmented by 300 Korean soldiers. The battalion became attached to the 7th Infantry Division and landed in Incheon Sept. 20, 1950.
The Red Devils would see more than a thousand days of combat.
On April 24, 1951, Alpha and Charlie batteries were attacked by a company-sized element of Chinese regulars. On that fateful day, they lost four men, while the enemy suffered between 175 and 200 casualties, both dead and wounded.
Most of 1952 was spent supporting the Republic of Korea, the United Nations Forces and American Divisions in the Kumwha Valley.
In mid-July, the Chinese forces launched the largest offensive attack in two years, which consisted of 10 divisions. Encircled and facing staggering numbers of enemy troops, the 92nd was ordered to withdraw, but recovered and regained the advantage, stopping the advance only 36 hours after it began.
On July 27, 1953, a truce was signed with the North Koreans bringing a halt to the Korean conflict. The battalion was deactivated two years later on July 27, 1955, at Camp Olympia, Japan.
Years after the deactivation of the battalion, the remaining veterans of the Red Devil Battalion have kept its legacy alive by uniting yearly for the last 22 years.
"I've been to every reunion except two," said Korean War vet Angelo Fanelli of Bravo Battery, 92nd AFA. "This one is extra special, because it's our last, and most of these people I probably will never see again."
The ceremony recognizing the final reunion of the Red Devil Battalion honors the prestige and legacy of this group of dedicated men. During the ceremony the names of the fallen Red Devils were read, and served as a reminder of the sacrifices made by these men.
"By far the greatest legacy of the Red Devils is in the gratitude of the men they fired in support of," said Lt. Col. Jonathan Rolfe, division fires cell coordinator and guest speaker at the ceremony. "The soldiers and the marines the Red Devils saved."
When a unit deploys or permanently changes station, the colors are "cased", signifying the end of the unit's mission. They are literally folded and placed inside a canvas case. They are then uncased at the new location to signify that the command is operational and ready to assume its mission.
On Apr. 8, 2019, the 92nd Armored Field Artillery's colors were cased for the final time.
"It's something special to witness them case their colors," said Tim Sheppard, a retired colonel who has served as the military liaison for the last seven reunions. "This is the greatest generation of men, these men who fought in the Korean War. It's been my honor to help in any way I can."
To say these men have paved the way for service members today is an understatement, Sheppard added.
"I've done three reunions," said Toncie Roberson, the event planner for the ceremony. "Just honoring these Soldiers for what they've done and knowing that what they've done has allowed me to serve and retire is an honor."