JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The 7th Infantry Division held a week-long celebration known as Week of the Bayonet, July 18-22 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. to build esprit de corps and pay tribute to its lineage and long history.
“This week we celebrated the ‘Hourglass soldiers’ that sailed to Europe in 1917 to finish the ‘War to End All Wars.’ We celebrated the soldiers of the ‘Lucky 7th’ that fought hand to hand to repulse Japanese Imperial invaders in Alaska and liberate islands across the Pacific,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Smith, 7th ID commanding general. “We celebrated the ‘Bayonet soldiers’ that struck the bayonet into the heart of the enemy at Inchon, liberated Seoul and fought from the Chosin Reservoir to Heartbreak Ridge, Pork Chop Hill and Old Baldy in Korea.”
Throughout the week, soldiers participated in various competitions that included aspects of physical fitness, weapons proficiency and demonstrations that displayed their mastery of professional soldiering.
Soldiers competed against one another on what Smith calls the ‘fields of friendly strife.’ Teams of soldiers from each brigade and battalion under 7ID competed against one another in everything from a best squad and top gun competition to a culinary warrior competition.
During the Week of the Bayonet’s closing ceremony, the division chose to honor one of its own, legendary Lt. Gen. (ret.) William H. Harrison.
Harrison entered the United States Army in 1954 as an infantryman before going on to complete Officer Candidate School to earn a commission as a second lieutenant in 1955.
Throughout his impressive 37 year career, Harrison served as the Commanding General of I Corps at Fort Lewis (now JBLM) and 7ID while it was stationed at Fort Ord, Calif.
Upon retiring from the Army, Harrison became the first mayor for the City of Lakewood, Washington when it became a city in 1996.
In 2015, 7ID honored him by naming its new headquarters building Harrison Hall.
7ID was created during World War I and was first activated December 6, 1917. It participated in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Panama and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. It boasts 17 Medal of Honor recipients and 15 campaign participation credits.
Smith told troops at the closing ceremony that he was impressed with their respect for fellow teammates and upbeat attitudes throughout the week.
“Your selflessness, courteous behavior and recognition of the inherent dignity of your teammates are the bedrock of what makes our American Army the most lethal combat force the world has ever seen and a model institution for our nation,” said Smith.