Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reminder: National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA, to Host Gulf War 20th Anniversary National Tribute 9 a.m. Thurs., May 26 to Honor Service Members, Unveil Stones to Those Who Lost Lives in Decisive Military Action

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Infantry Museum, located adjacent to Fort Benning in Columbus, GA, will host a Gulf War Twentieth Anniversary National Tribute to the men and women killed in service during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm on Thursday, May 26, from 9-10:30 a.m., leading off Memorial Day Weekend. The event will include participation by the top service commanders from the conflict and will feature laying commemorative granite paved stones for each of the men and women who died. Families and unit members will attend and thousands are expected.

"We won rapidly in the Gulf War; 382 men and women gave their lives," says Col. Greg Camp (Ret), Executive Vice President of the National Infantry Foundation. Infantry Foundation Chairman Lieutenant General Carmen Cavezza added, "This event is a well earned national tribute to the sacrifices our military heroes made to enable a clear victory by the United States and coalition forces. This will be the first official recognition of all Gulf War men and women who died in service." The event is also Fort Benning's Memorial Day celebration.

The event's host speaker will be retired Four-Star General Barry R. McCaffrey, a division commander in the Gulf War. The top Air Force and Navy commanders in the Gulf War have already indicated participation, Gen. Charles Horner (Ret), and Admiral Stanley Arthur (Ret), as well as LtGen. William M. Keys, USMC (Ret.), who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in the Gulf War. Other leaders from all branches are expected. In addition to the stone pavers and speeches, a military honor guard will march. Taps will be played following the unveiling of the stones and the raising of a new, special, dedicated flag for the Gulf War.

McCaffrey stated, "The Gulf War was a decisive military action. Anyone who comes to the Infantry Museum and sees the powerful exhibits from all of America's wars will understand how appropriate it is that the Gulf War commemoration be hosted here. As a participant in the Gulf War, I am proud that America is giving recognition to those who served and died for their country."

The National Infantry Museum and Foundation continues to seek information from families and unit members of the service members killed in the Gulf War to include at the event. All are invited to come. Persons with information or photos of the 382 are asked to send them to Cyndy Cerbin at ccerbin@nationalinfantryfoundation.org. "We want families and friends of Gulf War veterans to feel that this is home for recognition of their heroes," said Ben Williams, Executive Director of National Infantry Foundation.

In partnership with the Army and the Maneuver Center of Excellence, the Gulf War ceremony will be a special event included at the conclusion of the graduation of a company of new Infantry School soldiers, a powerful message of continuity for the graduates. Four-Star General BB Bell (Ret), who was General Norman Schwarzkopf's executive officer in the Gulf War as a colonel, will deliver the graduation address. Four-Star General Ronald Griffith, a commander of the First Armored Division in Iraq, will also participate. The class will then march the short distance to the granite pavers for the unveiling.

For planning purposes, Columbus' airport is served by Delta and American Airlines, or media may wish to fly to Atlanta and rent a car or take a shuttle to Columbus, which has many hotels. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International airport (ATL) is approximately a 75-minute drive from the National Infantry Museum, and Columbus Airport (CSG) is a twenty-minute drive.


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