By Sgt. 1st Class Damian Steptore, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsNovember 24, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas - When Wayne Barrett separated from the U.S. Army in 1967, the Military was much different.
"The Army is more organized than we were back then," said Barrett, as he stood in front of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division "Long Knife" headquarters building. "You have cell phones to communicate, and all we had was military radios."
Barrett, formerly assigned to the Long Knife Brigade's 27th Brigade Support Battalion while serving in Vietnam, along with a small group of fellow Veterans and spouses visited the unit as part of a Veteran's day tribute and effort to reach out to the local community Nov 10.
"We were not treated like heroes back then," he said. "So it really means a lot to me to be here."
The current and former Service Members ate breakfast at Fort Hood's Operation Iraq Freedom Dining Facility before visiting with Long Knife Soldiers throughout the morning.
The event was hosted by retired Col. Joe Bowen and retired Master Sgt. Bruce Morris. August Wilganoski, a Vietnam Veteran who served with the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment in 1969 was also in attendance.
Ronald Davis, a 1979 retiree, said he wouldn't change anything about his service because it's what made him the man he is today.
"We experienced the whole gambit of emotions [in Vietnam]," said the former Military mechanic with 20-years of service. "Of course we didn't have e-mail and Facebook like you do, but we did have regular mail."
Ronald's wife of 42 years, Peggy Davis, said receiving mail was the only high points she could remember. She and her husband would frequently write numbers on the envelopes before sending them to each other to keep track of when the letters were written.
"It was kind of sad when he returned," Peggy said. "They weren't allowed to wear their uniforms, and it was just me waiting for him at the airport."
Ronald and Peggy were married nine days after he returned from Vietnam, and the couple decided to retire in Killeen.
"What a tremendous honor to meet and greet with these former heroes, especially considering what has occurred here recently at Fort Hood," said the 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Commander, Col. Brian Winski. "This was great for our Soldiers and our unit."