[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               September 26, 2008
News

88th Regional Support Command 
activates at McCoy

By Sgt. 1st Class William Sutherland, The Real McCoy Contributor

     
(FORT SNELLING, Minn.) —
A brand new building named for a Medal of Honor recipient and a new command which carries a long and proud combat heritage marked the start of the 88th Regional Support Command (RSC)’s contributions to the Army Reserve at Fort McCoy.

Photo: Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar (second from right), 88th Regional Support Command (RSC) commanding general, and 88th RSC Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Williams (second from left) display the colors of the organization at Fort McCoy during an activation ceremony. The organization is moving from Fort Snelling, Minn., to Fort McCoy as part of a previous Base Realignment and Closure action. (Photo by Val Hyde)
Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar (second from right), 88th Regional Support Command (RSC) commanding general, and 88th RSC Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Williams (second from left) display the colors of the organization at Fort McCoy during an activation ceremony. The organization is moving from Fort Snelling, Minn., to Fort McCoy as part of a previous Base Realignment and Closure action. (Photo by Val Hyde)

Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar, Commanding General of the 88th RSC, along with Wisconsin State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Sparta’s town mayor, John Sund Jr., and other dignitaries cut a red, white and blue ribbon at the official opening of the Capt. Robert E. Roeder Army Reserve Center and 88th RSC Headquarters at Fort McCoy Sept. 19.

Also attending the activation ceremony, dedication and open house event was Col. David Chesser, Fort McCoy’s Garrison Commander, and Command Chief Warrant Officer Five James Thompson, the Command Chief of the Army Reserve Command. Also in attendance was Bob Lingerfelt, representing the Army Corps of Engineers which oversaw the construction of the Roeder Reserve Center.

The new headquarters will be comprised of approximately 270 personnel, including civilians and Soldiers split between Army Reserve "troop program unit" (TPU) Soldiers who typically train on a part time basis and Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) Soldiers who provide management and staffing on a day-to-day basis.

Photo: Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar (left) and Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (right) cut a red, white and blue ribbon at the official opening of the Capt. Robert E. Roeder Army Reserve Center and 88th RSC Headquarters at Fort McCoy Sept. 19. (Photo by Val Hyde) (The Real McCoy Extra)
Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar (left) and Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (right) cut a red, white and blue ribbon at the official opening of the Capt. Robert E. Roeder Army Reserve Center and 88th RSC Headquarters at Fort McCoy Sept. 19. (Photo by Val Hyde) (The Real McCoy Extra)

Noting the size of the new command, Sholar explained that the command will support some 50,000 Soldiers in 19 states, from Ohio and Michigan on the east, down to Missouri and Nebraska and across to Oregon and Washington.

During Vinehout’s ceremonial speech she addressed the audience and alluded to the sacrifices today’s Soldiers are making and said, "I commend the Soldiers and leaders present for their service to Wisconsin and the nation."

Heritage did not take a backseat during the ceremony. The flag used by the 88th Infantry Division during two wars — and now by the new command — was uncased for the first time at its new home. The 88th RSC acquired the lineage, honors and traditions associated with the historic "Draftee Division," later to be nicknamed "Blue Devils" by German Soldiers during World War II.

The division’s first members came from Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas and Iowa.

The "Blue Devils" earned this name for their stand to hold off a German assault on a 2,345-foot mountain in Italy referred by the "GI’s" as "Battle Mountain." 

The new command’s headquarters building was memorialized during this same event, and was named and dedicated after Roeder, who served with the 88th Infantry Division’s 350th Regiment during World War II and is one of the division’s two Medal of Honor recipients. The 350th Regiment of the 88th "Blue Devils" Division was called the "Battle Mountain Regiment." 

On Monte Battaglia, the 350th Regiment withstood continued German attacks from an overwhelming force, from Sept 28 - Oct. 5, 1944.

Even though the regiment was exposed on three sides, denied air and ground observation, and sustained terrific artillery and mortar barrages — supply was nearly impossible as it was hampered by bad weather — the regiment fought on through Roeder’s able and brave leadership.

Photo: Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar speaks at the activation of the 88th RSC at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Val Hyde)
Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar speaks at the activation of the 88th RSC at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Val Hyde)

Roeder led his men and held Monte Battaglia against multiple enemy attacks to retake this important and strategic mountain. Roeder’s valorous performance is exemplary of the fighting spirit of the U.S. Army.

Sholar also mentioned the types of base operations — or BASOPS — tasks that the new organization will handle. "Administration and information technology to logistics and engineering and some medical support," Sholar said.

The new command also will manage the six Army bands located within the region.

The ceremony to formally activate and house the 88th RSC at McCoy also means the beginning of the end of the former 88th Regional Readiness Command. Its "Re-patching" ceremony took place the previous Sunday, with a change of shoulder patch ceremony that took place at Fort Snelling.

That organization will inactivate on July 1, 2009.

Under the Army Reserve’s transformation plan, Sholar commands both "88th" units from his headquarters at Fort McCoy. He also serves as Senior Mission Commander, the senior-most Army general officer stationed at Fort McCoy.


(Sutherland is with the 88th RSC Public Affairs Office.)

 

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