By Staff Sgt. Ricardo BranchSeptember 6, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- A warm tropical breeze greeted the many onlookers out to witness a time honored tradition in any military organization; the changing of command. With one notable exception.
The Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, "Wolfhounds," were joined by veterans of World War II from the Greatest Generation Foundation witnessed the passing of the mantle of leadership from Lt. Col. Donald Brown to Lt. Col. Todd Fox, Sept. 1. here. The Greatest Generations Foundation is an organization that is focused on honoring veterans and educating generations young and old about the extraordinary history of wartime sacrifice and its noble accomplishments
Col. Malcolm Frost, commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and reviewing officer for the ceremony, opened the event with a standing applause for the WW II veterans in attendance.
"You proudly served in our Army, our military, and our nation, we're honored to have you here -- thank you so much for joining us today," he said.
Frost then went on to talk about the rich history of the Wolfhound Battalion and the accolades Soldiers standing in formation.
"You truly are a group of extraordinary Soldiers and leaders," he said. "Together you operated in the home of Saddam Hussein, and northern Salah ad Din, and conducted kinetic operations, which resulted in taking enemy contact nearly every week, and made the enemy pay every time -- all while under the command of Lt. Col. Brown."
Brown served 30 months as commander of the Wolfhounds where he implemented a rigorous training cycle at the Pohakuloa Training Center, on Hawaii and the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Cali., to prepare the troops for their eventual deployment to Iraq.
"Wolfhounds, I'm proud to have served among you, and sad to give it all up," he said. "Commanding you was the greatest honor I was accorded in my 18-years in the Army. Perhaps I'm biased but at this day and time, I can think of no greater battalion to have served with than the Wolfhounds."
Lt. Col. Fox, who is no stranger to combat units, proudly spoke of the feeling of taking command of the Wolfhound Battalion, and having veterans of World War II witness the event.
"Today is a special day for me," he said. "I'm honored to be joining an organization with the rich and proud history of the Wolfhounds -- It was made even greater by having the veterans there."
Fox went on to add his deep respect and honor for the sacrifices of the WWII veterans and took time to express that gratitude personally.
"Before the ceremony, I took the time out to thank each and every one of them for their service and their sacrifice, and I think it's important for them to be here because it's ultimately their success they had in World War II that every Soldier in uniform today tries to emulate in their day-to-day functions.
Following the ceremony, the Wolfhound Soldiers shook hands with the veterans, and attended a special luncheon to share experiences and bond with one another.
"Coming to Schofield and visiting all the troops, meeting commanders, and everyone wanting to know our story definitely made this trip worth it," said Bruce Heilman, spokesman for the Greatest Generation Foundation. "Seeing the ceremony, takes me back to days where I marched across fields."
He added the ceremony, brought about the feelings he felt from enlisting in the Marine Corps during World War II at the age of 17.
"When I see the young warriors, who volunteered during a war time, you know they signed up with a willingness to defend their country, willingness to die for their country, and fight for their country -- that's the spirit of those of us who fought in World War II," Heilman said.