"On the eighth day God created the infantry and all Hell stood at attention". This is the message we saw on a T-shirt while visiting Fort Benning, Georgia on October 10-11, 2009.
Fort Benning was built in 1918 and named in honor of Henry L. Benning, a Confederate general, lawyer, legislator, and judge on the Georgia State Supreme Court. This famous United States military facility has been training infantry soldiers, paratroopers, rangers, and other highly trained commandos throughout its history.
Patriots F. Joe Idol, Robert Helton, and I were there last weekend to attend Region IV's meeting of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
LTC Jon A. Ring, Commander 1-507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, warmly welcomed the MOPH group with opening remarks. His review of Fort Benning's history and its current training mission statistics were interesting to veterans like us.
Robert Helton (top picture) underwent parachute training at Benning in 1948 when he was age 15. He served in the Korean War with the 187th ARCT and the Vietnam War in the 173rd Airborne. He was also in the Green Berets and other army units a total of 33 years. After military retirement, he moved to Winston-Salem where he worked, volunteered, and refereed high school football games in Forsyth and surrounding counties. He now enjoys full retirement and membership in civic groups and military association groups.
Joe Idol (second picture) trained for the infantry at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in early 1967 after being drafted in 1966, served two years of active duty, and fought in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division where he was engaged in much infantry action.
I volunteered for the military in 1965, trained for the infantry at Fort Gordon, Georgia, completed parachute training at Fort Benning, fought in combat with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam in 1966, and completed three years of active duty.
The three of us are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal. We are members with many other wounded-in-action veterans of the Military Order and serve to help veterans and families who are entitled to assistance. We appreciate your support as we help the Department of Veterans Affairs to supplement the services to aging veterans and new warriors.
Region IV consists of departments and chapters in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
Our planning meeting at Benning was helpful, uplifting, and encouraging.
Bob Helton and I are in the bottom picture with the 250' jump tower behind us. We practiced parachuting from this tower during our training many years ago. Click on the pictures to enlarge for better viewing.
Have a good week!