03/04/2019 | By Command Sgt. Maj. John Stumph
From the 95th Command Sergeant Major
With the leadership of Maj. Gen. Christian and Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford, the Soldiers of the Division, known as the Iron Men of Metz, have had exceptional achievements and accomplishments. There are many places to start, but we must start with the generation of Soldiers who first earned the title, “Iron Men of Metz.” The Soldiers of the 95th Division earned this nickname during World War II in France. The city of Metz had a history of never being captured or taken during a war or siege that goes back centuries. For over 1500 years, whoever occupied Metz had never been removed by an invading force. That was until the American Soldiers were ordered to take Metz. Not only American Soldiers, but the Soldiers of the 95th Division. These Soldiers set forth to take the unattainable. Through great guts, determination, and sacrifice they succeeded and then continued the march that enabled the end of the war. A small number of these Soldiers are still alive and meet every year at the 95th Division Association Reunion. To be in the company of these Veterans is humbling. These Veterans are proud that the unit still exists and that historic units such as the 2-377th, “Miller’s Own” are still active today. There are monuments and memorials dedicated to the 95th Division at Ft Benning, Georgia at the Infantry Museum (dedicated in 2016); at Ft Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania (re-dedicated in 2018); at the D-Day Museum in Virginia; and monument to the only Medal of Honor recipient, Andrew Miller in Appleton, Wisconsin. To witness these dedications with the very men who actually lived through the history-making events is a teary-eyed emotional experience.
The current Soldiers who carry on the tradition of the Iron Men of Metz, are not to be outdone, for you have also set records and new standards. There can be no Army without discipline and order in the ranks of Soldiers. George Washington recognized this and brought in Baron Von Stueben and the famous Blue Book to transform the citizens of an infant country into a force to defeat the greatest military in the world at the time. Today, the Soldiers of the 95th continue that critical mission for the country. Drill Sergeants of the 95th Division are overseas training forces and on Active Duty working to increase the strength of the nation on short notice. While others in the military had concerns if the 95th Drill Sergeants, Soldiers, and Officers could do it—We had no doubt. A new Battalion was organized, deployed, stood up, and received troops. Companies were organized, deployed, and began training Soldiers in record time. You, the Soldiers, were recognized for the outstanding efforts that accomplished this.
You, Soldiers of the 95th, have earned numerous Drill Sergeant of the Cycle titles, graduated various Professional Military Education classes as the Honor Graduate, Leadership Awardee, and Commandant’s List Recipients. This occurred at the Drill Sergeant School and the PME classes from Basic Leader Course to Senior Leader Course. That tradition of excellence is also present in the Best Warrior Competition events. The 95th’s competitors consistently top the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) as the best Soldier, Noncommissioned Officer, and Drill Sergeant. In 2016, Sgt. 1st Class Moeller from 2nd Brigade won the title of the US Army NCO of the Year. Not to be out done, Sgt. Devin Crawford from 1st BDE won the US Army Drill Sergeant of Year in 2018. There is not another unit in the military that has had as many Soldiers from its ranks earn these prestigious titles is such a short time.
As the time comes to move on and hand to reins to another outstanding CSM to serve, it is hard to say what the most memorable event is or what I will miss the most from the 95th Division. After much reflection, it all comes down to the Soldiers and full time staff of the 95th Division. Being around such dedicated individuals who believe in what they do and having leadership that truly cares starting with Brig. Gen. Bassford that goes all the way down to the battle buddies is something that is rare in an organization today and will be greatly missed. For CSM Potts, I wish you the very best as you take up the reins. I leave with a simple prayer that some will know. It goes as this: For Food, For Raiment; For Life, For Opportunity; For Friendship and Fellowship; We Thank Thee, O Lord, Amen.