FORT RILEY, Kan. -- The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley renamed the installation’s outdoor bluffs to the 1st Family Overwatch on April 22, 2022.
The 1st Family Overwatch renaming was the first of many signature events of 1ID’s Big Red One Year of the Family, and was held to symbolize a location for which Big Red One Soldiers and Families can support one another in mind, body and spirit.
In military terminology, an “overwatch” is a position from which one unit can support another. 1st Family Overwatch is symbolic of this principle, and the site was dedicated to all Families of the Big Red One and the local Fort Riley community.
“Our goal is to build strong Families who have the capacity to laugh together, struggle together, win together, and extend a helping hand to a neighbor in need,” said Brig. Gen. Frank Stanco, the acting senior commander of Fort Riley.
The Big Red One Year of Family is a year-long campaign within 1ID’s Operation Victory Wellness focused on building strength and resilience of Families, educating Families about available resources, and showing appreciation for Families' continued support.
14 Big Red One affiliated Families were recognized and honored during the ceremony for their display of strength and resiliency.
“Healthy Families form the backbone of a healthy society,” said Stanco. “When Families are strong, communities are strong. Likewise, when military families are strong, overall readiness improves and makes our formations capable of overcoming insurmountable challenges.”
The Society of the 1st Infantry Division and former Commanding Generals of Fort Riley dedicated two benches that overlook southwest Kansas to provide a place for Soldiers and Family members to gather, reflect and provide enrichment for the lives of Big Red One Families.
“Part of our mission is to help take care of Soldiers and Families,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 (Ret.) Phyllis Fitzgerald, the current Executive Director of the Society of the 1st Infantry Division. “It was very touching to hear about the benches and how the Society still has that connection with the active duty Soldiers. It felt good knowing that we’re doing something to help our Soldiers.”
The members of the Families recognized were Stethanie Larson, Krystal Koch, Jessica Rinebold, Alyssa Marshall, Landry Smith, Kathryn Canton, Albanie Gililland, Marcy Webb, Amanda Stewart, Ariel Breaux, Cynthia Amano, Brooke and Elijah Williams, the Gates Family, and the Clark Family.
In addition, Monica Basset, a recipient of the Lady Victory Award, the Fort Riley Installation Volunteer of the Year Award and the 2022 Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year, received special recognition for all of her hard work and dedication to the Big Red One and local Fort Riley community.
“Our Families are the force behind the force, so honoring the spouse and family who are staying back in the trenches is incredible,” said Basset. “The community that you find at Fort Riley is a community that you cannot find elsewhere. There is a community of civilians and leadership that want to help the installation grow and impact it in the most profound way.”