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Consecration of Hallowed Ground

Discussion in 'Balboa Park' started by BFISA, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Miami Herald
    March 25, 2009
    Pg. 17

    A Great Day For The Army

    By Joseph L. Galloway

    FORT BENNING, Ga. -- It was a great day for the infantry and for the U.S. Army, and it was one for the history books, as well.

    On a bright, sunny spring day in Georgia, Fort Benning and the National Infantry Museum dedicated a new parade ground, and the first of what will be thousands of basic training companies broke it in by marching in review for their graduation.

    Before the 125 newest soldiers in the Army set boots on that field, though, it was consecrated in a ceremony that saw veterans and descendants of veterans of eight of America's wars spread soil collected from their battlefields on the new parade ground.

    Douglas Hamilton, a fifth-generation descendant of Alexander Hamilton, sprinkled soil gathered from the decisive battlefield of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War.

    Former Sen. Dirk Kempthorne, a great-grandson of Pvt. Charles Kempthorne of the Union Army's 3rd Wisconsin Infantry, and Henry B. Pease Jr., a descendant of Henry Lewis Benning, the Confederate commander at the Burnside Bridge, spread soil from the blood-soaked Civil War battlefield of Antietam, or Sharpsburg, as Gen. Benning probably called it.

    Soil from World War I battlefields in France was spread on the parade ground by George York, son of the legendary Sgt. Alvin York, and Samuel Parker Moss, grandson of Samuel Parker of the 28th Infantry. Both York and Parker earned the Medal of Honor during World War I.

    World War II was represented by soil collected from the beaches at Normandy and those of Corregidor and Guadalcanal in the Pacific. Theodore Roosevelt IV, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who earned the Medal of Honor on D-Day at Normandy, and by Kirk Davis, son of Charles Davis, who earned the Medal of Honor at Guadalcanal, spread soil from those battlefields.

    Two legendary warriors from the Korean War -- Col. Ola Lee Mize, who held Outpost Harry against overwhelming odds and earned a Medal of Honor, and Gen. Sun Yup Paik, who at age 30 commanded both a division and a corps in the South Korean Army -- sprinkled soil from their war's battlefields.

    Then it was time to honor the infantrymen who fought in Vietnam, and two legendary old soldiers marched onto the field wearing their black cavalry Stetsons. Retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley carried jars bearing soil collected at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley and on other Vietnam battlefields.

    In the stands, a dozen or more Ia Drang veterans and other 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) veterans, most wearing the same black hats, stood at attention as Moore, 87, and Plumley, 89, carried out their mission and then saluted them.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, the senior enlisted advisor to Gen. David Petraeus at the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, spread soil collected from battlefields in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Desert Storm and Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

    Actor Sam Elliott, who portrayed Sgt. Maj. Plumley in the movie We Were Soldiers, narrated the ceremony. (Full disclosure: The movie is based on a book that Gen. Moore and I wrote.)

    Last week's ceremony marked a partial opening of the new $100 million National Infantry Museum that adjoins the parade ground. The grand opening of the entire facility is scheduled for June 19..

    The Infantry Museum Foundation is busy rounding up the last $10 million to complete work on the displays that will fill the museum's galleries on America's wars and the infantry battles that distinguished them.

    The new soldiers graduating from basic training with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry, marched past the stands, which were filled not only with their proud parents and siblings but also with the assembled VIPs and such legendary infantrymen as retired Gen. David Grange and retired Gen. Ed Burba and retired Col. Ralph Puckett.

    In the infantry and in the Army, there are good days and bad days, and a few great days.. This was one of the great days.

    Joseph L. Galloway is a military columnist for McClatchy Newspapers.
  2. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Awesome story:flag:
  3. Lightning's Girl

    Lightning's Girl Mod Chick =) Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 15, 2007
    My son, who went through basic and infantry training at Ft. Benning last fall, told me about this a few weeks ago. He was going to try to take some leave because he wanted to be there for the ceremony. Well, he didn't get to go, but I'm sure he was there in spirit..........he is so proud of being an infantryman, and I'm proud of him as well. :flag:

    God bless our soldiers, sailors, and Marines, every one!!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. fan4ever

    fan4ever BoltTalker

    Dec 29, 2008
    It's good to honer those who fell for our country, for it's ideals, for what we could stand for. But, to be lied into wars and profiteering from them on the backs of those same soldiers is wrong. Support these women and men (nearly children, ave age 19?) by bringing them home and taking care of them. Navy Nam Vet.

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