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16th Infantry Regiment Association to dedicate memorial

By J. Parker Roberts | 1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | May 01, 2015

A new monument will be unveiled on the grounds of Fort Riley’s U.S. Cavalry Museum commemorating the 16th Infantry Regiment’s arrival and participation in the Vietnam War May 1, according to the 16th Infantry Regiment Association.

The 9:15 a.m. dedication ceremony is part of the Department of Defense’s Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration program. The dedication party will include Brig. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley senior mission commander, retired Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, honorary colonel of the 16th Infantry Regiment, and retired Lt. Col. Steven Clay, president of the 16th Infantry Regiment Association.

“For 2015, because it was the 50th anniversary of the regiment’s participation in the Vietnam conflict, we decided we would put up a monument there at Fort Riley to commemorate the participation of the first and second battalions of the regiment in that particular war,” Clay said. “This is probably the largest, most expensive monument we’ve done so far.”

The president said the majority of the association’s current members are from the Vietnam era. “We wanted to make it special for those guys because, as we all know, the Vietnam veteran was slighted by much of American society during and in the immediate post-war period,” Clay said. “We wanted to make it special to commemorate the things the 16th Infantry Regiment accomplished in Vietnam on behalf of the nation.”

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, will case their colors in a ceremony immediately following the memorial dedication on Cavalry Parade Field. Along with the other four battalions and one squadron assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., the “Iron Rangers” are casing their colors ahead of the brigade’s June inactivation. The battalion will reorganize and be assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Benning, Georgia.

“The Museum Division is honored to have a 16th Infantry Regiment monument placed on the museum grounds,” said Bob Smith, director of Fort Riley museums, of the black granite memorial. “The 16th has a long and illustrious history and is one of the original units assigned to the 1st Inf. Div. in 1917. It is truly fitting that the monument in on the ground where the 16th paraded in the 1870s and has served continuously with the ‘Big Red One’ for nearly 100 years.”