News: Michigan Army National Guard medical units honored at memorial ceremony
Story by Capt. Douglas Halleaux
GRAYLING, Mich. – The Michigan Army National Guard’s medical support heritage was on display as former members of the varied manifestations of the 207th Evacuation Hospital unveiled the newest memorial monument at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center Friday.
Among the honored guests were a former commander from World War II and members whose service ranged from the mid-1970s through the unit’s most recent iterations during Operation Desert Storm.
Retired Lt. Col. Ruth A. Newman, a former nurse with the 207th and the first female nurse is Michigan Army National Guard history, led the unveiling ceremony. She was last part of the unit in 1991 which was activated for the Gulf War. For Newman, the turnout and setting couldn’t have been better for the memorial’s introduction.
“I am real happy with the number of people that showed up, that was nice,” said Newman. “Of course, I’m glad God gave us perfect weather for it.”
The memorial itself was designed to incorporate the unit’s entire history, from its early days as the 107th Medical Battalion through its multiple iterations and formations culminating in today’s 1171st Medical Company. The unit’s crest bearing the motto, “Servimus,” meaning “We serve,” is highlighted centrally on the glossy stone.
Officiating at the memorial was Col. William Henson, chaplain, Michigan National Guard’s State Command Chaplain, who discussed the importance of memorials like these.
“It gives individuals when they visit Camp Grayling an opportunity to reflect on memories that have been preserved by the monuments that have been erected for the service of the women and men who have served with distinction and dedication,” said Henson.
Much of the coordination for the memorial was conducted by former members of the 207th Evacuation Hospital years past retirement, a gesture that provides a glimpse into the long-lasting care of its Soldiers.
“The esprit de corps, the caring concern for Soldiers and their families continues beyond the active service component of what we do,” said Henson. “The idea of retired personnel continuing to care for and nurture one another and the relationships that they have, that’s a camaraderie that is timeless.”
“Things change, hair changes color and the girth grows around different parts, but it’s still the same,” said Newman. “So it’s nice to see them, catch up, and ask about their families, children, grandchildren.”
The memorial to the 207th is the latest addition to Camp Grayling’s Memorial Park, joining memorials to other Michigan National Guard units and Camp Grayling itself.