‘Dragons’ honor Distinguished Members of Regiment
From left, Bob Humphries, 16th Regimental Association president, and Retired Col. Ken Cassels, honorary colonel, 16th Inf. Regt., unveil the paver stones for retired Maj. Gen. Albert H. Smith and retired Col. William S. Hathaway June 10 at Victory Park. Photo by: Staff Sgt. Gene Arnold, 4TH IBCT.
Story by: Sgt. Scott Lamberson
4TH IBCT PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Brave, responsible and on point, Soldiers who have the honor of being inducted as Distinguished Members of the Regiment showed they were just that at two different events.
The two dinners were attended by the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division June 10 and the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT June 11. Past and present members of the battalions came together to celebrate, as well as share stories and experiences.
"A combat veteran is a combat veteran, no matter what conflict they served in," said Douglas Ludlow, a Vietnam-era veteran, 16th Infantry Regiment and a Distinguished Member of the Regiment. "Outside of a venue like this, you don't find true patriots, but you find them here."
During a June 10 ceremony, the day prior to the 16th Inf. Regt.'s informal dinner, two pavers were unveiled in Victory Park for retired Maj. Gen. Albert H. Smith, former commander, 1st Infantry Division, during the Vietnam War, and Col. William S. Hathaway, commander, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, also during the Vietnam War, for their service as the honorary colonels of the 16th Inf. Regt.
At the 16th Inf. Regt. Distinguished Members of the Regiment dinner, awards were given, including the Outstanding Unit Award Best Company, Outstanding Unit Award Best Platoon, Outstanding Unit Award Best Headquarters and Headquarters Company Element, Outstanding Unit Award Best Infantry Squad and Outstanding Unit Award Best Infantry Fire Team. Throughout the evening, Soldiers and veterans spent time with each other, building bonds and sharing experiences.
"Events like this are wonderful. I love coming down and hanging out with these young Soldiers, these are America's warriors," Ludlow said. "Just having the opportunity to spend time with them is quite a privilege.
"This is a good way for me to come out and see some of my old friends, but I really like to talk to these active-duty Soldiers. The dedication they have to their mission is really refreshing."
At the 1st Bn., 28th Inf. Regt. dinner, six noncommissioned officers with the "Black Lions" were inducted as Distinguished Members of the Regiment, giving them the honor of being some of the few active-duty Soldiers to be inducted. The NCOs were chosen because of their longstanding history with the unit.
Each Soldier has been with the unit since the "Black Lions" were activated on Jan. 16, 2006, and assigned to the 4th IBCT. The NCOs combined years in the battalion are greater than 40 years worth of service and experience.
"I think it's critically important that these young Soldiers are being inducted," said Bill Murphy, honorary colonel, 28th Inf. Regt. "It's the young guys that are going to keep this regiment alive. It's truly an honor to be here. I can stay close and connected to Soldiers, and I thoroughly enjoy doing that.