Desert Storm VII Corps Veterans and your Families,
This May 2018 as we approach Memorial Day, that has become a sacred day in America when we honor and remember our men and women who died in military service, 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.
With all of you, we 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.” As you know, each year at our annual Reunion we honor and remember our own Fallen at a special Memorial Service. This 27th Anniversary of our victory in 1991 on 24 February 2018 in Ft. Hood Texas, at the Soldier Memorial Chapel there, Chaplain Col (ret) Wayne Lehrer, assisted by Col (ret) Dave O’Connell, conducted a military Memorial Service, as he has done each year, where our past Association President MG (ret) John Altenburg called out each of their names one by one. One of our former commanders gives commander remarks as is appropriate at these ceremonies. This year LTG (ret) Paul (Butch) Funk wartime commander of 3D Armored Division, SPEARHEAD, gave moving and inspiring remarks.
That morning of 24 February 2018 at Ft. Hood we planted in a ceremony a tree with a plaque as an everlasting Memorial to remember and honor our own Fallen. That oak tree now stands in the 1st Cavalry Division Memorial area among memorial trees and other memorials dedicated to fallen from Desert Storm and this ongoing war. Our oak tree is there honoring all our Fallen to include members of the 1st CAV, one of our Divisions in VII Corps in 1991.
We said at the end of Desert Storm over 27 years ago that “we will never forget” and we have not forgotten our VII Corps comrades nor as a Nation all those who have fallen in military service. For all of us, we also remember those of our ranks who have died since we served together on Desert Storm. May we all pause in our own way this Memorial Day 2018 in deep remembrance to honor and remember 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 and look forward to seeing many of you at our 28th anniversary Reunion the weekend of 22-24 February 2019 as we return to Ft. Hood and Killeen, Texas.
Fred M. Franks, Jr.
Gen, US Army (ret)
Chairman VII Corps DSVA