By Sgt. 1st Class
William Sutherland, The Real McCoy Contributor
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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."
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.
division’s first members came from Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas
"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."
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."
Monte Battaglia, the 350th Regiment withstood continued German
attacks from an overwhelming force, from Sept 28 - Oct. 5, 1944.
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.
Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar speaks
at the activation of the 88th RSC at Fort McCoy. (Photo
by Val Hyde)
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.
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.
new command also will manage the six Army bands located within 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
organization will inactivate on July 1, 2009.
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.)