By USASOC News ServiceJanuary 10, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Jan. 9, 2012) -- It was a brief hallway ceremony and handshakes between four men on Nov. 17. Two were in Army uniform - 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) commander Col. Jay Wolff and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Wall. The other two, Robert Proulx and William Greene, wore the colorful garrison caps of Post 10630 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Proulx is the VFW Post 10630 commander, while Greene is a three-year trustee and chairs the membership committee.
The handshakes cemented a relationship that will hold for years to come, according to Greene, who first helped connect the two organizations a year and a half ago, when Post 10630 of Hope Mills adopted the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) as part of VFW's Adopt-A-Unit program. This October, the post was authorized by its national headquarters to expand that relationship to include the battalion's higher headquarters, the 95th CA Bde. (A) and all of the brigade's five battalions.
"Retired Sgt. 1st Class Greene and the VFW were an incredible asset to the 96th when I was the battalion command sergeant major," said Wall. "The adoption of the brigade provides increased resources to take care of our Soldiers and their Families."
"We enjoy interacting with active duty Soldiers," said Proulx. "We help in any way we can. Adopting the brigade allows us to be a little closer and to help out."
Greene said the VFW has advocated for and supported military veterans since the end of the Spanish-American War, when it was organized by and for those who have served in wars overseas.
The VFW has a lot to offer adopted units, said Greene. The VFW military assistance program allows posts to help their adopted units with morale activities like the brigade's Trunk or Treat Halloween event in October. The Hope Mills post received a grant from its headquarters to help pay for all the food and drinks at the event that drew hundreds of brigade Soldiers and their families.
The VFW also sponsors a phone card program that helps military personnel deployed overseas to call home for free. Another program allows Soldiers and spouses to request small grants through their chaplains to pay for emergency repairs like car breakdowns and plumbing leaks.
Besides regularly visiting patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals and greeting returning military personnel at the Green Ramp on Pope Field, the VFW is involved in an awards program for high school teachers and ROTC students, essay contests, and advocating for state and national veterans programs.
Greene's connection with the Civil Affairs Soldiers at Fort Bragg goes back over six years, when he retired as a sergeant first class for the 96th CA Bn. (A) as the 95th CA Bde. (A) was being formed.
"I've known Greene for over seven years," said Wolff. "Bill's passion for leading Soldiers has transitioned into an incredible dedication to taking care of all that have served and are serving today. He and his wife are a tremendous asset to the Fort Bragg community."
"My aspirations for the brigade is to have centrally located place where we can be more closely involved with the battalions and the brigade," Greene said." It's all about families and friends. One unit, one person can't do everything in the world, but if you work as a team, you can accomplish anything."