3rd Infantry Division Photographs-95th Annual Reunion - Columbus, GA Day 1

 

 

Contents - Society of the 3ID Website

 

95th ANNUAL REUNION
Columbus, GA
Page 1
June 19 - 22, 2014

Last Update July 27, 2014
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  95th Annual Reunion - Columbus, GA
  Click on photos for larger view
 
 
  Veterans share stories with 'Sledgehammer' Soldiers
95th Annual Society of 3rd ID reunion
 
Veterans share stories with 'Sledgehammer' Soldiers 95th Annual Society of 3rd ID reunion
Photo by Staff Sgt. Lindsey Kibler

Staff Sergeant Undra Bibbs, a food service specialist with 3rd ABCT, 3rd ID, helps to carry a tray during a luncheon, June 20, at the brigade's Gibson Dining Facility.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - The 3rd Infantry Division’s newest generation of veterans broke bread and shared stories with some of the Rock of the Marne’s oldest Dog Face Soldiers, June 20, during a special luncheon at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Nearly 80 veterans, accompanied by their significant others and Family Members, with the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division came from all over the country to meet at Fort Benning for the society’s 95th annual reunion June 19 to 22.

They joined Sledgehammer Soldiers with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, at the Gibson Dining Facility on Kelley Hill. The luncheon was one of many stops for the group, as they made their way around the installation during the three-day reunion.

Following lunch, the men and women visited the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment’s China Room. The China Room is the only museum within the Department of the Army that is owned and maintained at the battalion level, said Command Sgt. Maj. Phil Keli’i Barretto, command sergeant major of 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt.

"Everything inside this room was moved from Germany," explained Barretto, an Oahu, Hawaii, native. "Each piece is accounted for and maintained here in our building, and the door to the museum is security locked … because this is the battalion’s history inside this room."

A number of veterans, clad in their "Can Do" 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt., t-shirts and hats, served in the battalion during previous battles.

"We had a gentleman who was walking into the China Room and noticed the pictures of the battalion’s Medal of Honor recipients and, as he was glancing through them, pointed out his former platoon sergeant and said ‘I was the one who pulled out the shrapnel they talk about in this narrative’," Barretto said.

Barretto was especially thankful for the group’s stop at the China Room because, he said the Soldiers of today wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the service of the veterans that have come before them.

"They are the foundation of where we are today," Barretto said.

For Whitney Mullen, who was a private 1st class when he fought in World War II as a rifleman with Company I, 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt., said the room was a way to reconnect to his past experiences with a battalion he is proud to have served in, he said.

"I’ve been to quite a few reunions and each year the number of participants dwindles down, but it’s still a great experience," Mullen said, of Vineland, New Jersey.

For the newer generation of Soldiers, the veterans were a chance to hear first-hand about their combat experiences in WWII, the Korean War and the Gulf War.

"It’s been pretty interesting. There are a lot of good stories they tell, and they are rich in history, too," said Staff Sgt. Derek Gonzalez, an operations noncommissioned officer with 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt.

History was exactly what the veterans knew and they were more than happy to share their stories with anyone who had the time to listen.

"You can go into the China Room and read about the actions of Can Do Soldiers," explained Lt. Col. Scott Mueller, commander of the 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt., "but to hear about it from the men who were there gives it a whole new meaning."

The group’s reunion also included a basic training graduation, a tour of the National Infantry Museum and a dinner with the 3rd ID commanding general, Maj. Gen. John M. Murray, who was the evening’s guest speaker.


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The National Infantry Museum
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At the 3ID Monument
Gordon Draper and Bob Gibson

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Graduation at Fort Benning

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President Joe Ball


Entering the Graduation Ceremonies
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Larry Driscoll and family with John Keller

LTG Sam Wetzel and David Steighan
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Visiting the China Room
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At the Maintence Facility


Interior of the Bradley
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At the 15th Inf. Regt. Dinner
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Jennifer Duncan


At the Ladies Brunch and Program
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Col Paula Lodi

Col Paula Lodi and Roberta Heller
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At the Ladies Brunch and Program


At the Ladies Brunch and Program
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At the Ladies Brunch and Program


Memorial Breakfast
Tom Heitzer, John Burke, and Pennie Burke
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Bugler Mike Friend plays Taps

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Pennie sings God Bless America

The Banquet
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Reunion Chair John Shirley


President Joe Ball welcomes Banquet
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Color Guard


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Major Gen John Murray

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Henry Burke hands out Canes

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Bae suk Lee accepting Cane


Mike Halik with John Burke
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Jim Beckworth and daughter Patti Lamont

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MG Murray accepts Soldier of the Year Award
to PFC Darryl T. Garner from David Mills


President's Special Award to John Fisher
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Associates Award to Rich Heller

Audie Murphy Award to Lynn Ball
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President's Award to John Shirley

Award to David Mills
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MG John Murray and David Mills
Col. Col Thompson and wife with John Shirley
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Harold Nelson with brass
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Riding the bus from the Banquet
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Rich Heller and MG Murray

Jim Beckworth and MG Murray
Photos by Gordon Draper
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GI at Ft Benning 2014
The infantry squad demo

Gordon Draper at Ft. Benning 57 years ago
 
Infantry Graduation June 2014
 
Barracks at Ft. Benning

OP2's Bob Gibson at namesake dining facility
 
OP13's Dick Faulkner and wife at dining hall

Bae Suk Lee being served
 
Tank repair training with computers

honor guard member
 

The infantry squad demo

Joe Ball being sworn in as President

 

 

 

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