News: A night out with the White Falcons
Story by Staff Sgt. Nancy Lugo
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Paratroopers in their dress uniforms escorted their guests inside the hotel’s ballroom. The female guests wore ball gowns of every hue, making the room a riot of color. The atmosphere was one of celebration, as smiling paratroopers introduced their guests to their leadership and teammates. The 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, “White Falcons,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, hosted their annual Battalion Ball, April 5.
Traditionally, these events are a celebration of victory and a recount of the unit’s exploits in battle. The event celebrated the successful completion of 2-325 AIR’s deployment to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn and served as an enjoyable night with much esprit-de-corps.
“It’s a traditional event, we want to have good time, but it is also about connecting the unit’s history to its future,” said Lt. Col. David S. Doyle, commander of 2-325th AIR.
This year, the White Falcons invited Congressman Chris Gibson to speak at their ball. Gibson formerly served as the commander of both the 2nd BCT and Doyle said, having Representative Gibson speak at the event was meaningful, “he has a personal appreciation of the cost and impact of what we do as paratroopers.” the White Falcons. He retired from the Army in Feb. 2010 and is currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York’s 20th district.
Gibson’s remarks focused on the achievements of the 2-325th AIR over the last ten years. He spoke about how the White Falcons earned six unit awards; one for each of its six deployments during the last decade.
He detailed the importance of the Global Response Force and how instrumental the 2nd BCT’s mission was during the deployment to Haiti in Jan. 2010. “The Global Response Force mission is so important for our nation, as this Battalion saw firsthand when it went to Haiti,” he said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jack Love, senior enlisted adviser, 2-325th AIR, said of his former commander, “He never forgot about the paratrooper and how important they are to the mission and the unit.”
Gibson reminisced on his time as a White Falcon encouraging the young paratroopers to “Enjoy every moment you are together, because you don’t know when there is going to come a day when you won’t be in the White Falcons anymore, and I suspect you will be like me; you will look back on those times and you will remember them as the very best of times.”
Col. Tim McAteer, commander of 2nd BCT, honored Gibson by making him a distinguished member of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment. McAteer said to Gibson, “It’s nice to know that somebody is serving our nation at the level you serve who truly understands the contributions of paratroopers, soldiers and their families; it really makes me feel good that you’re serving in Washington and you can carry that message.”