ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – April has meant a nearly nonstop celebration of milestones, accomplishments, and reflection for First Army Soldiers, civilians, veterans, and family members.

On April 14, a First Army World War II hero had a medical clinic on Rock Island Arsenal named in his honor. Staff Sgt. Waverly Woodson was serving as a combat medic on D-Day when he saved the lives of dozens, and perhaps even hundreds, of fellow Soldiers over 30 hours. He did this despite suffering shrapnel wounds to his groin, back, and thigh. Working through these injuries, Woodson established a first aid station, where he treated other wounded service members. His lifesaving actions included rescuing persons who were drowning, as well as setting limbs, removing bullets, dispensing plasma, and performing a foot amputation, all under enemy fire.

 “Through the hail of bullets, the dirt, the sweat, and the pounding of artillery, a young Soldier shows up with his aid bag. Every ounce of his being is dedicated to saving the lives and limbs of those in his unit,” said retired Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr., a former First Army commanding general who served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. “For over 30 hours, more than 200 Soldiers were treated and many lives were saved. I am honored to have been in the same Army as Waverly Woodson.”

 Earlier that week, First Army celebrated two general officer promotions in First Army headquarters. On April 11, First Army Deputy Commanding General for Support, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Jurasek received his second star. The University of Alabama graduate commissioned as an ordnance officer in 1988. He has received numerous awards and medals, to include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.

The following day, First Army Division West Commanding General, Maj. Gen., Joseph Edwards II, received his promotion from brigadier general. As Division West Commanding General, Edwards oversees a unit whose mission is to partner and train Reserve Component forces during all phases of mobilization, in order to provide trained and ready forces prepared to meet combatant commander requirements. A Distinguished Military Graduate of the University of Rio Grande, Edwards’ many awards and badges include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters.

Also that day, veterans of various U.S. wars were flown to Washington, D.C., on the latest Honor Flight of the Cities, to tour the nation’s war memorials. Volunteers from First Army and other organizations were on hand to meet and greet these heroes before they boarded their flight and when they returned that evening.

Meanwhile, First Army leaders gathered in the Pershing Conference Room of First Army headquarters from April 13-15 to help shape the unit's vision for the future during the First Army Commanders Forum. During the event, First Army division and brigade command team members gained a deeper understanding of First Army operations and planning, as well as delving into critical issues related to Reserve Component readiness, training, and mobilization. Breakout sessions further broke down the specifics of strategizing, partnerships, and charting a future course. A team-building physical training session was also held.

The celebrations continued with the First Army ball on April 14, which highlighted the unit’s history, mission, and people. Retired Gen. Robert Abrams, former commanding general of U.S. Forces Command and of U.S. Forces Korea, served as keynote speaker.

The series of events will conclude on April 29 when First Army personnel participate the Rock Island Arsenal Sexual Assault Awareness And Prevention Month five-kilometer run/one-mile walk.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Edwards II, First Army Division West commanding general, receives his second star during a promotion ceremony in First Army headquarters, with First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto Jr., affixing his new rank.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Gen. Joseph Edwards II, First Army Division West commanding general, receives his second star during a promotion ceremony in First Army headquarters, with First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto Jr., affixing his new rank. (Photo Credit: Warren W. Marlow) VIEW ORIGINAL
Current and former First Army leaders and their spouses celebrate during the First Army Ball at the University Club in Moline, Ill.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Current and former First Army leaders and their spouses celebrate during the First Army Ball at the University Club in Moline, Ill. (Photo Credit: Warren W. Marlow) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Woodson Health Clinic is dedicated on Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., on April 14. The clinic was named in honor of a First Army D-Day hero, Staff Sgt. Waverly Woodson. From left are: Woodson's son, Stephen Woodson; First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto Jr.; and former First Army Commanding General, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Woodson Health Clinic is dedicated on Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., on April 14. The clinic was named in honor of a First Army D-Day hero, Staff Sgt. Waverly Woodson. From left are: Woodson's son, Stephen Woodson; First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto Jr.; and former First Army Commanding General, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr. (Photo Credit: Warren W. Marlow) VIEW ORIGINAL
Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto Jr. (right), First Army commanding general, shares a laugh with Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Jurasek, First Army commanding general for support, during Jurasek's promotion ceremony.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto Jr. (right), First Army commanding general, shares a laugh with Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Jurasek, First Army commanding general for support, during Jurasek's promotion ceremony. (Photo Credit: Warren W. Marlow) VIEW ORIGINAL
First Army Soldiers join members of other organizations to welcome home veterans returning from Washington, D.C., on a Quad Cities Honor Flight.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – First Army Soldiers join members of other organizations to welcome home veterans returning from Washington, D.C., on a Quad Cities Honor Flight. (Photo Credit: Master Sgt. Peter Morrison) VIEW ORIGINAL
Command Sgt. Maj. John McDwyer (right), First Army senior enlisted Soldier, speaks with First Army Division West Command Sgt. Maj. William Justice in the First Army headquarters foyer during the First Army Commanders Conference.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command Sgt. Maj. John McDwyer (right), First Army senior enlisted Soldier, speaks with First Army Division West Command Sgt. Maj. William Justice in the First Army headquarters foyer during the First Army Commanders Conference. (Photo Credit: Warren W. Marlow) VIEW ORIGINAL