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Soldiers commemorate 100th anniversary of World War I

By Spc. Kaitlin Waxler | 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Public Affairs | June 12, 2017


Members of the U.S. Army Reserve 90th Sustainment Brigade, from Little Rock, Ark., joined civilians and veterans at Hangar 9 on Brooks City Base May 20 to honor the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I and celebrate Armed Forces Day.

The 90th Sustainment Brigade, a unit that traces its lineage to the 90th Infantry Division, was selected to provide a five-Soldier color guard for the commemoration.

The 90th Infantry Division, which was initially activated August 1917, trained at Camp Travis in San Antonio. The unit, nicknamed the “Tough ‘Ombres,” is rich with history, from storming the beaches of Normandy, to the liberation of Flossenburg Concentration Camp in Germany.

The 90th Sustainment Brigade is a part of the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Joint Base San Antonio-0Fort Sam Houston. The command is made up of Soldiers, civilians and their families in units headquartered throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. As part of America's Army Reserve, these units are trained, combat-ready and equipped to provide military and logistical support in any corner of the globe.

Staff Sgt. Randall Franks, non-commissioned officer in charge of the color guard, said he was proud to carry on the legacy. To demonstrate their unit’s historical ties, Soldiers wore era-specific uniforms as they presented the colors.

“It emphasizes the common bond between current military and veterans,” said Franks. “It's pretty important to us, especially because of our history with World War I.”

The event was organized by Dr. Amy Jo Baker, President of the Alamo Couriers Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She began the commemoration by highlighting special guests in the crowd, including City of San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and Texas Senator Dr. Donna Campbell, as well as veterans from World War II and Vietnam.

Baker emphasized the importance of giving back to those who have served, and educating future generations about their sacrifices.

The master of ceremonies for the event was retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, who serves as Director of Military Affairs for the City of San Antonio. He explained the historical significance of Hangar 9.

“This is our commemoration of the Great War,” Ayala said. “This hangar, Hangar 9, is the only remaining structure in the United States from World War I.”

Among the guests was 94 year-old Army Corps of Nurses retired 1st Lt. Josephine Reaves. She served during World War II, working mostly with surgical patients. Reaves said the commemoration was very important for her to attend.

“This event is beyond my expectations,” Reaves said. “I love all of my fellow veterans so much. We just can't do enough for them.”

Reaves also spoke of her time in the service, describing her work after the Battle of the Bulge. She said it was among her most memorable moments with the Corps of Nurses.

“I took care of the amputees,” Reaves said. “I wanted them to know there was a human being there with them. That's just the way I operated.”

Another notable guest was retired U.S. Army Air Force Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders. Campbell presented Cole with Senate Resolution No. 262, which proclaimed the State's gratitude for the actions of Cole and his colleagues in 1942. Before taking his seat, Cole had one message for the crowd about the men he served with.

“I want you all to remember that there were 79 other men,” Cole said. “They should never be forgotten; we did this together.”