Soldiers and leaders from 4th Battalion “Regulars”, 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldog”, 1st Armored Division, participate in the Wreaths Across America Memorial Ceremony at Fort Bliss National Cemetery, Dec. 14. | U.S. Army photo by Maj. Anthony Clas
FORT BLISS, Texas – “Ask yourself…Where would I be? What would my life be like; were it not for our veterans who have stepped up for us all time and time again over the course of this Nation’s history…”
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,600 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
Soldiers and leaders from 4th Battalion “Regulars”, 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldog”, 1st Armored Division, participated in the Wreaths Across America Memorial Ceremony at Fort Bliss National Cemetery, Dec. 14.
“Today is a wonderful example of partnership with Fort Bliss and the local El Paso community to honor our veterans and honor our fallen,” said Lt. Col. Colin Mahle, native of Sacramento, California, commander of 4th Bn., 6th Inf. Regt., 3rd ABCT, 1st AD. “A number of great organizations here today that I’m very happy to see: the local Boy Scouts (chapter), a number of volunteers from across Fort Bliss and El Paso, and other veterans’ organizations such as the Freedom Riders.”
Mahle was joined by Command Sgt. Maj. Lamont Holmes, native of Beaufort, South Carolina, senior enlisted advisor for 4th Bn., 6th Inf. Regt., 3rd ABCT, 1st AD, and a number of other Soldiers from his organization of whom participated as members of the Color Guard and Honor Guard teams during the ceremony.
“When we got the invitation to come out and to support this event, I was all for it,” said Holmes. “I think it’s important for our junior Soldiers to see some of the veterans that have come before us, who paved the way for us, and to come out and honor their sacrifice. These veterans who are resting in peace here in this cemetery, today, have paved the way for our service.”
Retired Army Spc. Joseph Hudson, currently residing in Alamogordo, New Mexico, member of the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club, and former Prisoner of War during Operation Iraqi Freedom, laid the wreath at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Monument during the ceremony and does so because it’s a good way to promote awareness and show veterans and their families they are not alone.
“It gives them (veterans) hope to understand what other people went through,” said Hudson. “We’re not alone in our experiences we go through in war. We are not alone… We are not alone… And it’s great our Vietnam veterans have reached out so much to younger generations to thank them for their service and to provide an open hand saying, ‘We understand. We understand what you went through.’ And it’s wonderful that older generation veterans do not forget about us.”
Hudson openly recounted his story during the interview.
On March 23, 2003, Hudson’s unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, came under attack during the Battle of Nasiriyah, Iraq, in day four of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Eleven Soldiers were killed in action, and a total of eight were taken as prisoners of war.
Two died in captivity, Jessica Lynch was rescued on April 1, and Hudson and four others were rescued on April 13.
“It’s good to talk about it,” Hudson exclaimed. “And that’s one thing I encourage young veterans to do. Talk about what you went through because there are people out there who still care.”