FORT SILL, Oklahoma, Feb. 20, 2020 -- "Honor the Fallen" is a continuing commitment that one basic combat training battery from Fort Sill has made to the Fort Sill National Cemetery.On Valentine's Day three troop transports dropped off 185 basic trainees from D Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery at the cemetery's headquarters shortly after 9 a.m.Their drill sergeants marched them into a maintenance barn, where they sat on the floor to watch a short video about the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Association and its mission.Capt. Branden Buffalo, battery commander, said his trainees come to the cemetery at least once per 10-week training cycle for this mission."'Honor the Fallen' is about taking the time to remember our forebears -- those who came before us and set the conditions for us to do what we do today. It's an opportunity for the trainees to really learn a little bit about the Army tradition and stewarding the profession as far as never forgetting where we came from," Buffalo said.This was the battery's sixth time to pay their respects to America's veterans. The captain estimated that each time, they do about 600 man-hours' worth of work in one day.Skyler Holmes, assistant director of the Fort Sill and Fort Gibson national cemeteries, said what the Soldiers do in a matter of hours would take the cemetery's small staff a month."We really appreciate them hosting us. We always have a fantastic time interacting with the staff here," the captain said.The trainees typically clean headstones and do some area beautification. This time they had a special chore to perform. Elgin Middle School plans to have its annual Gettysburg Address competition at the Fort Sill National Cemetery's Gettysburg Address plaque in March, so the trainees helped spruce up the site by removing mulch and taking it to a bare spot on the other side of the cemetery.Holmes said the area where the mulch was will be backfilled with river rock. Before the trainees got started, cemetery staff took out partitions between the grass and the mulch, as the cemetery is going borderless for the new look.The battery was divided into subgroups to perform multiple tasks, according to Bruce Abernathy, work lead for the cemetery. One is an ongoing project to raise and realign the headstones. Abernathy said one of the biggest jobs is keeping them looking sharp and straight. He added that it would take the staff a full year to do all of the 1,000-plus markers, but the Soldiers could probably dig several hundred in one day."All the tasks are different, and they're all just as important," Abernathy said.Lt. Col. Eric Kunak, commander of 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery, affirmed that Feb. 14 was a training holiday for the Forces Command side of Fort Sill, but that has little effect on Training and Doctrine Command. TRADOC units have light days on federal holidays but not the four-day weekends."We still have a mission to perform, and basic training continues," said Kunak, but he added that "today is a very special day, at least for our battalion."B Battery, 1-79th FA, graduated its latest class of basic trainees that afternoon, and Class No. 12-20 of D Battery spent the morning helping the staff of the Fort Sill National Cemetery make it presentable for families and loved ones of those interred there."We have five pillars of Stewards of the Professional. One of those is definitely remembering where you come from, the empathy portion of being a Soldier. This is a great visualization for these brand-new Soldiers, to understand where they come from and the sacrifices that others made before them. It's actually a very good look at the practical application of the Army values," Kunak explained.Pvt. Hunter Page, of Dallas, dug holes next to grave markers so they could be moved over for the realignment project."We're doing this because they served our country before. We're just trying to pay due respect to them," Page said.