Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and your Families,
On this Memorial Day Monday 31 May 2021, this special day in America, we honor and remember all our men and women who died in military service to our Nation. On this most special and sacred day, in this our 30th Anniversary year of our Victory in Desert Storm that as part of the Coalition liberated Kuwait, Denise and I, on behalf of our Association President Mark Rado and our VII Corps Desert Storm Veterans Association Board, want to thank you and your Families for your own service and our service together in VII Corps during Desert Storm, and together honor and remember this Memorial Day and every day our own Fallen, those 111 of our VII Corps Desert Storm Soldiers who in President Lincoln’s words, “gave that last full measure of devotion.”
We said at the end of Desert Storm over 30 years ago that “we will forever remember” and we have remembered our VII Corps Fallen. This year as you know because of COVID restrictions in Virginia, we held a combined virtual 30th Anniversary Reunion and Memorial Service 1 May of our victory in 1991.
Faithful to that promise and as we do at each Reunion, we held that Memorial Service 1 May, conducted by Chaplain Col (ret) Dave O’Connell, where our past Association President MG (ret) John Altenburg called out each of the names of our Fallen one by one as he has each year. One of our former commanders gives commander remarks as is right at these ceremonies. This year Col (ret) John Gingrich, Wartime Commander of 4th Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, Division Artillery, 1st Infantry Division, gave thoughtful, moving, and inspiring remarks.
We had intended to commemorate our 30th Anniversary this year by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of our 111 Fallen in VII Corps as we had done at our 25th Reunion. That was not possible due to COVID restrictions. Not to be denied we decided to lay wreaths on 30 April at the gravesites of two of our Fallen in Arlington National Cemetery to honor them and all of our Fallen. Our two Fallen there in Arlington are: ROBERT DAUGHERTY, 5/16 Infantry as part of TF 2-34 Armor, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, The Big Red One, and JOSEPH KIME, HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division, Spearhead. The ceremony was coordinated by Board member Wartime VII Corps G-5 Col (ret) Art Hotop, with remarks by 1st Infantry Division wartime commander LTG (ret) Tom Rhame, and by past VII Corps DSVA President and VII Corps Wartime 1st AD SJA, MG (ret) John Altenburg. Other attendees were Board Members VII Corps Veteran Col (ret) Jay Waters, and wartime Corps Artillery CSM, CSM (ret) Harold Shrewsberry, and VII Corps wartime ACE, and former DSVA Treasurer LTC (ret) Bob Candido.
In these continuing demanding times this year of 2021 on this day that has become sacred in America all across our great Nation, may we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2021 in deep remembrance to honor and remember our own Fallen and all those who gave it all in military service–and their families who bear the pain of their loss.
We value our service with each of you. We are planning our in-person 31st Reunion the weekend of 24-27 February 2022 in Washington DC at the Crystal Gateway Marriott and Ft. Myer, VA Chapel and perhaps even the new Army Museum with details to follow. Blessings this Memorial Day to all of you to stay well and remain in contact with each other.
Fred M. Franks, Jr.
Gen, US Army (ret)
Chairman VII Corps DSVA