By Jaz Levario
U.S. Army Garrison Devens Reserve Forces Training Area Public Affairs
August 22, 2022
DEVENS, MA – More than a thousand people from the surrounding communities came to U.S. Army Garrison Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (USAG Devens RFTA) celebration on August 20, to honor the 105th anniversary of the establishment of Devens.
The opening ceremony began with the posting of the colors by the WWI Commemorative Honor Guard and the playing of the National Anthem by the 99th Readiness Division’s 78th Army Band. Garrison Commander Lieutenant Colonel Trent R. Colestock gave opening remarks.
“Today is a great day to recognize and celebrate the installations rich history and all of those who served here past and present, military or civilian…the rich history continues with great distinction and we couldn’t be more proud of our history,” said LTC Coestock.
The event also included remarks from Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Kevin Dorsh, CSM of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
“For just short of thirty years… 10th group called Fort Devens home. “Home” that is a very important concept to those of us in the military. It is not just a word, not just a structure that we inhabit. A home is something we hold dear to our hearts, a place, a location, a community where one feels welcomed; one feels safe for him and his family,” said CSM Dorsh
Active servicemembers and reenactors from Korea, Vietnam, WWI and WWII eras filled the garrison and blurred the lines between the past and present. In its 105 years of service, more than 400 Army units have been stationed at Fort Devens. Fort Devens has a rich history; this event was a way to honor it.
One of the event's highlights was the fly-over and the fast rope demonstration from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). The unit flew in on a Black Hawk helicopter and several team members rappelled into the landing zone. The Black Hawk then landed, providing patrons a chance to see a Black Hawk up close.
Other attractions included military vehicles such as Wreckers, Strykers, and historic tanks for patrons to see up close and touch. Several information booths from veteran agencies, Fort Devens tenant units and surrounding military installations were on site and providing information.
The event welcomed music performances by the 78th Army Band and the Jim Atkinson band to entertain the crowd. The event on the installation concluded at 4 p.m., and patrons were invited to move to Rogers Field in Devens for the fireworks display at dusk.
Rogers Field was once part of Fort Devens. In 1917 Camp Devens was established as a temporary base camp. In 1931, Camp Devens became a permanent U.S. Army post and was named Fort Devens. On March 31, 1996, Fort Devens, Massachusetts, was inactivated, and a large portion of the installation became Devens, while the main cantonment became known as Devens RFTA. The old barracks, base housing and hospital, are still visible from Rogers Field.
Devens Reserve Forces Training Area provides premier training capabilities and base operations support to the Total Force in New England.