News: Cantigny Dining Facility Dedicates Medal of Honor Room
Story by Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire
FORT RILEY, Kan. — Leaders from across Fort Riley were present as Cantigny Dining Facility’s new Medal of Honor Room was dedicated in a ceremony June 11 at the facility.
The dedication was the culmination of a months-long planning and construction process.
“Last November Master Sgt. James Collins and I were walking through the DFAC when it dawned on us that we were the only (dining facility) on the installation that had an extra room,” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lakisha Singleton, food service coordinator for 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, said.
Singleton and Collins took their idea, for a room dedicated to Medal of Honor winners from the “Big Red One,” to brigade leaders and then to division, where Brig. Gen. Frank Muth, 1st Inf. Div. deputy commanding general – support, bought in immediately.
The room is a simply-appointed one — for good reason.
“We wanted to highlight the Medal of Honor recipients and make it place for their families to come to, not to overshadow the meaning of the room,” Singleton said. “I spoke to some of the recipients’ family members about sharing photos and memorabilia and they agreed. At the end of the day, this room is about them and for them.”
One family member in attendance was Bob Nietzel, whose first cousin Alfred Nietzel was among the “Valor 24” who received the Medal of Honor posthumously earlier this year in a White House ceremony.
The room was very inspiring,” he said, voice audibly shaking with emotion. “It was a very emotional experience to see all the recipients in there.”
Nietzel came from San Juan Capistrano, California, for the ceremony.
“It was important for me to be here today and to be a part of it,” he said. “My cousin is in that room on the wall and he will forever be a part of 1st Infantry Division.”
In the future, the room will be used to host special events at the dining facility, and Singleton said she has plans to have Soldiers regularly receive educational tours of the room and its memorabilia.
Nietzel said that would be a fine idea.
“People have no idea what a Soldier goes through and this would be good for them,” he said. “I think this should be something everyone gets a chance to see. I hope more people get the opportunity I got today.”