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    Valor Takes Center Stage During 1ID Ceremony and Panel Discussion

    Valor Takes Center Stage During 1ID Ceremony and Panel Discussion

    Photo By Spc. Alvin Conley | 1st Infantry Division Soldiers unveil the newly named Schaefer Place in honor of 1ID...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Alvin Conley 

    19th Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT RILEY, Kan. -- The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley hosted its Big Red One Year of Honor Leadership Professional Development panel and commemoration ceremony for 1ID Medal of Honor recipients September 22, 2021, at Fort Riley, Kansas.
    The ceremony honored MoH recipients Pfc. Gino Merli and Staff Sgt. Joseph Schaefer for their actions during World War II, and each had a street sign memorialization in their honor. By December, Fort Riley will have renamed 37 streets on post in recognition of each of the Division’s Medal of Honor recipients.
    “These two Division recipients of the Medal of Honor are absolute examples of valor personified,” said Maj. Gen. D.A. Sims, the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, during the commemoration ceremony. “Two members of the Big Red One, both providing inspiration to those of us who wear the patch today and all who hear their stories.”
    Following the ceremony, the panel discussion focused on valor, where panelists had the opportunity to discuss how honorable living through courageous actions are utilized and reflected in leadership.
    The panel consisted of U.S. Army Col. (R.) Greg Gadson, managing partner of Patriot Strategies; former U.S. Army Maj. Mark Nutsch, the Green Beret Commander portrayed in the movie “12 Strong”; former U.S. Army Sgt. Robert “Mike” Debolt III, a former Big Red One Soldier and Distinguished Service Cross recipient; U.S. Army Lt. Col. (R.) Jennifer Glidewell, a family nurse practitioner; and Lt. Doug Cathey, Watch Commander for the Junction City, Kansas Police Department. The 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. Alex Tignor moderated the panel.
    Each panelist agreed they were simply ordinary people who were able to accomplish extraordinary things in the face of adversity.
    Gadson, an Iraq veteran, and victim of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack that cost him both legs above the knees, recalled how during the attack he utilized the spiritual dimension of strength.
    “After they put me in the vehicle to take me back, I asked someone to say the Soldier’s Prayer,” said Gadson. “They knew it by heart and said it with such conviction. This IED attack slowed my life down warp speed, and all I could do was be present. Now, my faith allows me to trust and not even worry about the future.”
    Cathey, a former Kansas National Guard Infantryman, spoke briefly on how much weight words can hold and how when used properly could be the fuel needed to continue while in the line of duty.
    “I took honor in the creeds and ‘follow me’, they meant something to me,” said Cathey. “As I went through my time as an Infantry Soldier trying to live those concepts, they translated into law enforcement. By being able to have had that military experience, I believe it has made a huge difference for me in the law enforcement situations I’ve encountered.”
    Debolt, an Ohio Military Hall of Famer, spoke about people in his life who have and continue to inspire him to do great things.
    “I have a great-uncle who is a Medal of Honor recipient, so hearing his stories, he’s a huge inspiration, but also these guys inspire me,” said Debolt referring to the other panelists alongside him. “Hearing their stories next to mine, and to be here and listen is inspiration.”
    Glidewell, who ran triage in the Center Court of the Pentagon on 9/11 and was a part of the first-ever Female Treatment Team, briefly talked about the important role that family plays in being a valorous person.
    “Never discount the mental and emotional toll on your family,” said Glidewell. “On 9/11 my family didn’t hear from me for about five hours and on deployments my husband was that support while I was gone. Keep them with you because that’s what feeds your strength.”
    Nutsch, a former Special Forces Commander, talked about how trusting those around you, not only exemplified valor but also instills it in the people you’re surrounded by.
    “The biggest thing for me as a leader was having to trust my guys,” said Nutsch as he recalled an unorthodox mission that forced him to split his team in groups that connected with local Muslim Soldiers that were also opposed of the Taliban. “When we came back after that mission, I had E-6’s lead 300 Soldiers into combat for upwards of a month; it was incredible. It’s that mindset we’re taught of ‘Don’t quit and push yourself beyond of what you think you can’.”
    Gadson began the closing remarks of the year’s final valor LPD panel by encouraging the leaders in the attendance and anyone viewing virtually to simply be the best that they can be.
    “Be present; if you’re present you have a chance to be your best,” said Gadson. “Focus your efforts on being your best, and if you can do those two then I say that equals being at peace.”



    Date Taken: 09.22.2021
    Date Posted: 09.23.2021 12:41
    Story ID: 405890
    Location: FORT RILEY, KS, US 

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