|Story & photo by Capt. Rob Lodewick, 181st Infantry
Brigade Public Affairs Officer
Soldiers, Family members and friends from across the Fort McCoy
community came together Feb. 9 at the 181st Infantry Brigade’s annual
Guests at the 181st Infantry Brigade’s annual formal banquet
enjoyed an evening of traditional military activities, dining,
socializing and dancing.
Hosted at Tomah’s Cranberry Country Lodge, the event drew more than
160 attendees who observed and/or participated in formal military
introductions, traditional toasts and recognitions, followed by dining
and dancing well into the evening.
Brigade Commander Col. Eric J. Angeli and Brigade Command Sergeant Major
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark W. Confer personally welcomed each guest as they
arrived at the event.
After guests navigated their way through the sea of red, white and blue
decorations to find their seats, the 181st Color Guard initiated the
formal portion of the event by presenting the nation’s colors.
Traditional toasts honored the service and sacrifice of past generations
of Soldiers, and hailed the Army, the United States and the commander in
chief. Formalities reached a somber point as all turned toward the empty
table and chair set to honor fallen Soldiers who have made the ultimate
sacrifice. As the symbolism behind the lemon, salt and single yellow
rose was recounted, solemn faces and teary eyes attested to the honored
remembrance of countless friends and battle buddies lost throughout long
For many, the highlight of the evening was the traditional preparation
of the “grog.”
Representatives from each of the brigade’s six subordinate battalions
took turns contributing to the concoction while providing amusing
anecdotes explaining their choice of ingredient.
After a few choice additions of his own, Confer grabbed the ceremonial
Entrenchment Tool gave one final stir and presented Angeli with a
canteen cup full of the mixture for final command approval.
After one final addition, “Eagle 6”(Angeli) approved the grog fit for
consumption and all were free to partake.
The remainder of the evening was filled with dining, socializing and