News: 4th Inf. Div. celebrates ‘thankful’ birthday
Story by Spc. Nathan Thome
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Lines of boisterous people stretched to the parking lots of the Robert C. Stack and James R. Wolf dining facilities, as soldiers, families and friends waited on a feast served by Fort Carson leadership, Nov. 21.
The lunch served two purposes: to hold a post-wide Thanksgiving meal for soldiers and their families, and to celebrate the 4th Infantry Division’s 95th birthday.
The 4th Infantry Division was activated on Dec. 10, 1917, and has participated in several wars throughout history, including World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Displays offered diners a glimpse of the equipment from the division’s previous wars, and the accomplishments of former soldiers in their campaigns.
During World War I, America entered the war April 1917. In June 1918, the 4th Infantry Division arrived in France, and entered combat in July, fighting with distinction across France until the war’s end in November 1918. The division was the only American combat force to serve with both the French and the British in their respective sectors.
In World War II, the division was the spearhead amphibious division of the D-Day landing on the Normandy coast of France. The division pushed into France, liberating Paris, and became the first U.S. soldiers to enter Germany on Sept. 11, 1944. Between Dec. 1944 and Jan. 1945, the 4th Infantry Division fought the enemy at Luxembourg in Battle of the Bulge.
In 1966, during the Vietnam War, the division, led by its 2nd Brigade Combat Team, closed into the central highlands of Vietnam, and for the next four years, engaged the enemy in combat, conducted search and destroy missions, and conducted constant foot patrols.
With four deployments to Iraq, between 2003 and 2010, the 4th Infantry Division conducted counter-insurgency operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. During Operation Red Dawn, the 4th Infantry Division, in coordination with a special operations unit, captured Saddam Hussein, December 2003.
Beginning May 2009, the soldiers of the 4th Brigade Combat Team were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and became the first brigade in the division to enter the war.
These accomplishments sparked conversation between Soldiers and their leaders.
The division’s birthday is actually in December, but because of conflicting schedules, the commanding general decided to hold it in conjunction with Thanksgiving, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ruby Freeman, food service technician, 4th Inf. Div.
“Since soldiers would be at the dining facilities to celebrate the holiday, it was a great time to teach them about the history of their unit,” said Freeman.
Following tradition, leaders from first sergeants on up stepped behind the serving lines and piled Thanksgiving delicacies onto the plates of soldiers and families.
Before they began serving, Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall, senior enlisted leader, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, visited the dining facilities and took brief tours as they talked to soldiers about the unit’s history. They also participated in the 4th Infantry Division birthday cake-cutting ceremony.
“I think it’s great that the leaders talk to the soldiers, it gives them knowledge about their unit,” said Spc. Senobia Smith, band member, 4th Inf. Div. Band, ‘Mile High Band.’
Smith added that soldiers may not know about their unit, so by leaders coming in and talking to them about the group they are a part of, those soldiers can feel more attached to the unit they are assigned to.
“I think it’s a good show of leadership,” said Smith. “They’re teaching us values, and better yet, they’re doing it in person.”
As part of the Thanksgiving celebration, the Wolf and Stack dining facilities held a competition for best decorated dining facility and birthday cake. Stack won both events.