Columbus, Georgia – September 13, 2012: Veterans will be dedicating two new monuments on the National Infantry Museum's Memorial Walk of Honor this week.
Members of the Americal Division Veterans Association are holding their 33rd annual reunion in Atlanta this week. The division was hurriedly formed in May 1942 on the Pacific island of New Caledonia to fend off a feared attack by the Japanese. Although most Army units are given numerical designations, the commander requested that it be named the Americal Division – a contraction of American, New Caledonian Division. The name stuck, despite an official renaming of the unit to the 23rd Infantry Division.
The highlight of the reunion will be a bus trip to Columbus for the dedication of the group's new monument and a memorial service at 10 a.m. Friday, September 14, on the Memorial Walk of Honor. Afterward they'll take a windshield tour of Fort Benning and return to the National Infantry Museum for lunch and a tour of the galleries. Up to 300 people are expected.
An hour later, at 11 a.m. on September 14, the U.S. Army Ranger Advisors to the Biet Dong Quan will dedicate a new monument to the 2,500 advisors who served in the Vietnam War. The unit was charged with advising U.S.-trained Vietnamese Rangers. Forty-two were KIA. Three earned the Medal of Honor and 36 were awarded Distingished Service Crosses. Only about 250 of the advisors are still living; 26 of them will be attending the group's bi-annual reunion in Columbus/Fort Benning.
"We were a small unit at a special time in a special place," said Unit Director Bill Miller. "When our members are gone, the unit is gone. That is why we're dedicating this monument: to preserve the legacy."
(SOURCE: NATIONAL INFANTRY MUSEUM)
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