By Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Every year, members of the 4th Infantry Division Association gather to share stories and commemorate their accomplishments as veterans of the “Ivy” Division.
This year, more than 200 veterans traveled to Fort Carson for the 4th Inf. Div. Association reunion, July 23-28.
The national 4th Inf. Div. Association organizes veterans, Soldiers and friends of the Ivy Division in multiple capacities. It fosters patriotism, supports and honors Soldiers, and encourages historical research of wars to acquire and preserve records of servicemembers.
Prior to their arrival at Fort Carson July 26, the Iron Horse veterans held a Historical Society Golf Event, took the Cog Railway tour and spent time reuniting with each other.
Veterans began their first day on Fort Carson by joining nearly 1,000 Soldiers for a pass in review at Founders Field.
Military reviews can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when leaders would use ceremonies as an opportunity for a demonstration of strength. The U.S. Army’s first use of reviews was addressed in the Blue Book by Baron Friedrich von Steuben, the manual upon which much of the Army’s drilling practices are based.
“The division pass in review was held to recognize our honored guests (veterans) and show our appreciation for their service,” said Lt. Col. Charles Gregory, civil affairs officer, 4th Inf. Div.
The pass in review began with an invocation, followed by the rendering of honors to the sound of 13 cannon rounds, and the inspection by Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson; Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson, senior enlisted leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion; and Col. Bruce Antonia, 4th Inf. Div. chief of staff.
After conducting their inspection, Anderson and Jefferson attached identical campaign streamers, awarded to the division for its participation in Operation New Dawn, in support of U.S. military operations in Iraq, to the Army and 4th Inf. Div. colors, bringing the total number of campaign and battle streamers for the Army to 186, and the 4th Inf. Div. to 23.
Streamers first came into use during the Civil War and represent a campaign. Each streamer is embroidered with the campaign name and the time period the campaign covered.
During his speech, Anderson took a moment to welcome the veterans and their families.
“We have some very special people here with us who are such an important part of the fabric and legacy of our Army, the 4th Inf. Div.” said Anderson. “We work each and every day to honor you and follow in your footsteps.”
After the conclusion of Anderson’s speech, the Iron Horse veterans received an invitation to lead the Soldiers as they passed before Anderson.
“The pass in review was fantastic and very uplifting,” said Fred Campogni, a Vietnam veteran. “Getting asked to participate in the ceremony was a real treat.”
Following the pass in review, Soldiers, veterans, Families, friends and community leaders moved to Manhart Field to witness the groundbreaking for the 4th Inf. Div. Memorial.
“Manhart Field will no longer be a field where Fort Carson holds its ceremonies, but will be the home of the memorial which honors 4th Inf. Div. as a whole,” said Gregory.
With the ceremonies behind them, the veterans participated in a tour of Fort Carson. Veterans visited the specific units or regiments they were assigned to during their service and toured their unit’s modern facilities, training sites, and ate lunch with Soldiers.
Many veterans enjoyed their visit to their unit’s motorpool, where they were treated to a number of static displays, which included military vehicles and weapons systems, manned by current members of the 4th Inf. Div.
“The technology they have today is way over what we had,” said Roy Danis, a Vietnam veteran.
“I can’t believe all these weapons they have,” said James Barnes, also a Vietnam veteran.
Veterans also voiced appreciation for the Soldiers currently filling the ranks of their old battalions.
“I love the troops, they’re doing a good job and they look good, too,” said Danis. “I know they can handle the job.”
The visit provided the Soldiers a chance to connect with the history of their brigade.
“It gives me a little more pride in the unit to (hear) what the veterans before me did,” said Spc. Ari Brailowsky, M2 Bradley fighting vehicle gunner, Company B, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. “My favorite part has been hearing their stories and having the opportunity to meet them.”
Following the motorpool visit, one group of veterans visited a barracks dedicated to 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg., Medal of Honor recipient 1st Sgt. David H. McNerney. There, Sgt. Anthony Dalgaard, team leader assigned to Company A, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg., 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.,talked about McNerney’s accomplishments. Veterans had the opportunity to take photos in front of the dedication plaque and tour the barracks rooms.
At the end of the day, the Ivy Division veterans and their families returned to their hotel to rest up for day two of their Fort Carson tour, which included visits to the Mission Command Training Center and Close Combat Tactical Trainer.
Overall, the Iron Horse veterans were pleased with the reception they received from the 4th Inf. Div.
“They have definitely pulled out the red carpet,” said Karen Leonard, wife of Fred Leonard, a Vietnam veteran.
The opportunity to provide a tour for the 4th Inf. Div. Association also benefited the Soldiers that were able to take part.
“It gives you a reassurance of what’s ahead of you,” said Master Sgt. Stella Arning, Disability Evaluation System noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “It re-establishes pride in being a Soldier, which we are trying to instill in these young Soldiers.”
The 4th Inf. Div. Association will return to Fort Carson for an annual reunion in 2017, in honor of the Ivy Division’s 100th birthday.
“It’s always a drawing card when we come to the 4th Inf. Div.,” said Bob Babcock, president, 4th Inf. Div. Association. “They said they were going to take care of us, and they have.”