Leaders from across Fort Riley
were present as Cantigny Dining Facility’s new Medal of Honor room was
dedicated in a June 11 ceremony.
The dedication was the
culmination of months of planning and a construction process.
“Last November, Master Sgt.
James Collins and I were walking through the DFAC when it dawned on us that we were
the only (DFAC) on the installation that had an extra room,” said Chief Warrant
Officer 2 Lakisha Singleton, food service coordinator, 2nd Armored Brigade
Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Singleton and Collins took their
idea of a room dedicated to Medal of Honor winners from the “Big Red One” to brigade
leaders and then to division, where Brig. Gen. Frank Muth, 1st Inf. Div. deputy
commanding general for support, bought in immediately.
The room is a simply
appointed one – for good reason.
“We wanted to highlight the
Medal of Honor recipients and make it a place for their families to come to,
not to overshadow the meaning of the room,” Singleton said. “I spoke to some of
the recipients’ family members about sharing photos and memorabilia, and they
agreed. At the end of the day, this room is about them and for them.”
One family member in
attendance was Robert “Bob” Nietzel, whose first cousin, Alfred Nietzel, was among
the World War II veterans who posthumously received the Medal of Honor earlier
this year in a White House ceremony.
“The room was very
inspiring,” he said, voice audibly shaken with emotion. “It was a very
emotional experience to see all the recipients in there.”
Nietzel and members of his
family came from San Juan Capistrano, California, for the ceremony.
“It was important for me to
be here today and to be a part of it,” he said. “My cousin is in that room on
the wall, and he will forever be a part of 1st Inf. Div.”
The room will be used to
host special events at the DFAC, and Singleton said there are plans for
Soldiers to regularly receive educational tours of the room and its memorabilia.
Nietzel said that would be a
“People have no idea what a
Soldier goes through, and this would be good for them,” he said. “I think this
should be something everyone gets a chance to see. I hope more people get the
opportunity I got today.”