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    History and stars align for a 1st Sgt.’s final reenlistment

    OATH

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Wallace Bonner | During a re-enlistment ceremony, 1st Sgt. Marc Krugh, Headquarters and Headquarters...... read more read more

    GRAFENWOEHR, GERMANY

    05.23.2018

    Courtesy Story

    2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- 1st Sgt. Marc Krugh, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 5th Battalion, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conducted his final reenlistment ceremony for indefinite service on Hoekstra Field at Caserma Ederle military complex in Vicenza, Italy, which held special historical significance with personal family ties, April 1, 2018.

    Seventy-seven years ago, Pvt. Melvin Hoekstra landed on Omaha Beach with the 28th Infantry Division. Despite overwhelming odds, he survived the invasion and continued in the V Corps campaign to liberate France. During intense fighting in the Huertgen Forest in Germany, he was seriously wounded. His injuries were so severe he was hospitalized for 18 months in Illinois. He was awarded the Bronze Star with V Device, and the Purple Heart for his actions during the campaign.

    Hoekstra advanced to the rank of master sergeant in less than a year after demonstrating extraordinary personal courage and dedication to duty. He later served as first sergeant at several U.S. hospitals until 1952 when he was promoted to sergeant major. He continued service until he was assigned as the Southern European Task Force and Caserma, Vicenza command sergeant major in 1965, where he remained until his death from an illness.

    In 1967, SETAF dedicated the ‘Sgt. Maj. Melvin E. Hoekstra’ parade field to honor his exemplary service, dedication to duty, courage and heroism.

    Krugh, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is one of six Hoekstra grandchildren who served in the military, and one of two who remain on active duty.

    While deployed to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve, Krugh traced his grandfather’s exploits when he visited Normandy beach on a squadron staff ride and followed the route of the 28th Infantry Division all the way across Germany.

    Krugh said when the time came for him to perform his final reenlistment for indefinite service, there was only one place on earth suitable for the occasion.

    “The stars had to be aligned just right for me to have been able to have this opportunity. I had to deploy to Europe at the same time I was eligible for re-enlistment, and then be able to travel to Italy to perform the ceremony.”

    “This experience has been one of the more humbling moments in my career and my life.”

    Standing on his grandfather’s field directly in front of Hoekstra’s his commemorative vignette, Krugh’s chest swelled with pride as he swore the Oath of Enlistment led by his company commander, Capt. Donald Frazier, HHT, 5th Bn., 4th Cav. Regt.

    “Growing up, my dad would share stories of my grandfather and I always admired my him for his dedication to this country and to his family. It means the world to me that I am able to stand here today and honor his service and dedication.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.23.2018
    Date Posted: 05.23.2018 04:20
    Story ID: 278040
    Location: GRAFENWOEHR, DE 

    Web Views: 621
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    History and stars align for a 1st Sgt.’s final reenlistment