From the Commanding General

One of the hallmarks of exceptional organizations is that it learns, grows, refines and develops itself over time. This is certainly the case for the United States Army. Over the past 233 years, the role and purpose of the Army has not changed. It is still the force which was established by our founding fathers to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, to secure the Nation. However, what has changed is how the Army accomplishes its purpose.

Over the centuries, many outside factors have changed that have served to make our Army better. Specifically, we have seen significant changes in our doctrine, organizations, training, material, leadership and education, personnel and facilities (DOTMLPF).

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From the Command Sergeant Major

Until I retire and even after that, I will continue to stress the importance of Soldiers getting their Professional Military Education (PME) completed as well as being Duty MOS Qualified (DMOSQ). Soldiers continue to complain about the difficulties of not being able to get into BLC, ALC and SLC but the truth of the matter is many only want to go to school when it’s convenient for them. You can’t afford to pick and choose when it’s the ‘right time’. Every military school I attended, I was told when I’m going and that was the end of the conversation! It’s imperative that you are completely trained in both your duty MOS and in your leadership courses especially in these times when we can be involved in another conflict at any moment. Training is the key to success and if leaders, CSMs, 1SGs, and commanders are not encouraging and making their Soldiers attend the necessary level of PME they require, then they failed the Soldier.

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Role models for life

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Row upon row of crisp campaign hats sit stacked onstage at the post theatre and the Army’s newest drill sergeants sit at the position of attention waiting to be presented with this iconic symbol of authority during the graduation ceremonies on December 6.

The opportunity to wear the drill sergeant hat is earned and not given. The U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, located at Fort Jackson, accepts only the most qualified Non-Commissioned Officers, and this month hosted its largest ever primarily Army Reserve class.

The ceremony took place in the presence of family, friends, and supporters of the Drill Sergeants and remarks where given by Commandant, Command Sgt. Major Michael L. Berr, and guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj Jamie K. Price, CSM 101st Airborne (Air Assault) HHBN. Following the remarks was the long awaited presentation of campaign hats.

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The Name They Will Never Forget

The Army offers a near infinite number of career paths to the few citizen-volunteers that qualify to serve. The Surgeons at Walter Reed, tank mechanics at Ft. Hood, and Special Forces operators around the world have one thing in common; they all remember the name of their Drill Sergeant.  Without hesitation, they will recall not just the name, but tell you a story about their most memorable Drill Sergeant. 

Only the top 10 percent of Non-Commissioned Officers in the Army are selected to attend the United States Army Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, S.C.  Of those, even fewer will graduate, don the iconic Campaign Hat, and earn the title “Drill Sergeant”. 

Do you think you have what it takes?

Will yours be the name they never forget?

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Drill Sergeant Academy Graduation

Members of the G-1, 108th Training Command (IET) gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of one of their own as she graduated from the Drill Sergeant Academy, Fort Jackson, S.C., on December 6. From left to right, Staff Sgt. James, Drill Sergeant (Sgt.) Erin Wood, Mrs. Karen Woods, and CW3 Vandehey. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M. Litchfield/released

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Command Sgt. Maj. Retires After Forty Years of Service

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Riti will retire this summer after serving in the U.S. Army for over forty years.  As the highest enlisted rank that one can achieve, he has served in eight different commands in the position and rank of command sergeant major, the latest with the U.S. Army Reserve 108 Training Command, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Originally hoping to join the Marines in 1978, the U.S. Army lucked out when 17-year-old Riti went to a recruiting station in Yonkers, New York, only to discover the Marine recruiter out to lunch.  Seizing the opportunity, an Army recruiter, talked Riti into enlisting, and even went to the talented youth’s house to gain parental permission, as he was just underage. 

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Marksmanship team shares Army experience with All-American Bowl guests

The United States Army Marksmanship Unit showcased the very best of their skills for VIP guests and Soldiers during Bowl Week for the 2018 US Army All-American Bowl at the San Antonio Gun Club, Jan. 4.

Since 1956, the USAMU has gained respect around the world for winning hundreds of individual and team competitions, including 40 World Championships and 20 Olympic medals. The team consists of the Army’s top trap and skeet shooters who track, aim, and shoot at 5-inch clay targets using 12-gauge shotguns.

“Today we will be meeting and engaging with participants of the Army All-American Bowl here,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Richmond, an Army Olympian and USAMU shooter instructor. “We will start by giving a brief unit history of our unit at Fort Benning, and how we impact the Big Army’s mission. We will then break down into smaller groups where they will be given individual instruction from a professional shooter and end with an exhibition shooting shot-gun trick show.”

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Staff Sgt. Sandra Uptagrafft

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Sandra Uptagrafft, motor transport operator, Bravo Company, 4/518th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), earned a spot on Team USA and will compete in Women's 10m Air Pistol at the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships later this summer, which is an event she earned a Bronze Medal in during the 2011 Pan American Games.

Uptagrafft, who is a 2012 Olypian, is also vying for a spot on Team USA to compete in the Women's 25m Sport Pistol, an event she was the National Champion of in 2016 and earned Gold Medals in during the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, as well as Silver Medals in the same games in 2011 and 2015. The World Championships will take place in late August through early September in Changwon, South Korea. Before that, this U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, who is a native of Singapore, will be doing all she can to prepare for the competition and represent a country she loves dearly.

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Why I joined the Army

Why did I join the Army?
"An education, sense of purpose and direction..."
"...to step out of my comfort zone and set myself up for my future..."

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Army Reserve Soldiers advance skills though competition

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers don’t get many opportunities to go to the range. However, a few Citizen-Soldiers took it upon themselves to not only go to the range, but to compete in several marksmanship matches all for the sake of advancing their skills.

Soldiers from both the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) and the 98th Training Division (IET) competed in the 2018 U.S. Army Smalls Arms Championships March 11-18 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The weeklong competition, which is better known as the All Army and hosted annually by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, offers a mix of combat style and civilian style courses of fire on both the pistol and rifle, as well as a multigun match that requires the Soldiers to use both their primary and secondary weapons in a number of obstacle-like stages. The unique competition also offers U.S. Army Soldiers from all components—active duty, Reserve, National Guard and cadets—to compete, side by side for Excellence in Competition points that go towards the coveted Distinguished Marksmanships Badges: the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge and the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

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2018 CIAA - Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

During the 2018 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball tournament held in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 27 - Mar. 3, Army Reserve Drill Sergeants and officers took the opportunity to recruit and advise the young and impressionable minds of students visiting the CIAA events.

Throughout the week, Soldiers from the Army and Army Reserve set up shop at the Time Warner Cable Arena and Charlotte Convention Center to increase Army wide visibility and find perspective future leaders.

The CIAA is made up of 12 historically black colleges and universities. Its partnership with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command for 17 years has given the command the opportunity to connect with and spread its message of opportunity to the over 190,000 basketball players, fans, students, university officials and local influencers attending the tournament.

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The Lunch Bunch

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Since founded in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a nonprofit service organization has been comprised of Veterans and military members from the active guard and reserve forces.  In addition to service members and Veterans, spouses and family members have also been apart of the organization for decades.

The VFW and auxiliary are intentional about giving back and on Sunday, Feb 11., the auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1160 hosted a luncheon for the Soldiers of the 108th Training Command during battle assembly weekend.

Members of the auxiliary made every dish served to the 108th Soldiers from scratch, providing them with sandwiches, chili, soup, and savory desserts.

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Bent not Broken

From the air Puerto Rico looks every inch the island paradise – cloudless azure skies, endless sandy beaches and sparkling Caribbean waters.

As my plane begins its final approach, the picture shifts and reality begins to focus.

A patchwork sea of blue stretches below and it takes a moment to realize that it isn’t water, it’s the roofs of the houses and businesses below. I gaze at the FEMA “blue roofs” and tarps as I begin to register the damage that stretches as far as the eye can see.

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From the 104th Training Division (LT)Commander

Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC) remains the largest commissioning source for officers in the U.S. Army and at its core is leader training.  The 104th Division (Leader Training) plays a significant role in meeting our Army’s leadership development requirements by training tomorrow’s leaders today.  The Timberwolf Division supports nearly 270 ROTC programs across America every day.  Every year, we assist with producing nearly 6000 new Lieutenants for the U.S. Army and over 600 for the United States Army Reserve.  This past December, I had the honor and privilege to promote three of America’s finest cadets to the rank of Second Lieutenant from one of these outstanding ROTC programs.  These newly commissioned officers completed 4 years of undergraduate studies at California State University at Fullerton while balancing the rigors of a highly intense ROTC program with real life events to include family, friends, and extra-curricular obligations.  These leaders are highly educated, well trained, and motivated warriors who are fully prepared to enter the Army.

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From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander

Almost a year ago, I told you that we were sending a battalion headquarters and eight companies of Drill Sergeants, one of which came from our friends in the 98th Division, to Fort Leonard Wood.  There, they were going to train a large number of new Soldiers, and help the Army increase its overall end strength.  The eyes of the entire Army were on our Soldiers as they undertook this mission.  Would our Soldiers be ready and relevant? Could we meet the challenge?  Today, I am proud to tell you that our Soldiers not only met the challenge, but have excelled in every possible way!

We only had 30 days from when our first Soldiers arrived at Fort Leonard Wood until they were required to pick up the first group of trainees and start their training.  In that short time, our Soldiers had lots of work to do.

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From the 98th Training Division (IET) Commander

Role of the Commander. My expectation of commanders at all levels of the 98th Training Division is that they are the unit’s primary trainer.  I expect Commanders to be at morning physical readiness training, at training events, at classroom instruction, at the ranges – wherever training is occurring, the commander should be there.  Commanders are always with the main effort of any operation, and in the 98th Training Division, the main effort is the unit’s training event. 

Commanders observe, evaluate and assess training and leader development at all levels of the organization. They provide feedback as a coach, teacher, and mentor. The commander ensures the unit trains to standard, not to time.

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The Warrior Within

March 13, 2018

(This is part one of a two part story.)

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. —Justine Bottorff’s eyes flicker with intensity as she lifts herself over a 15-foot obstacle near the hilly brush of Fort Leonard Wood. Her boots pound an obstacle course’s rocky trail as a Soldier carrying a timer runs alongside a few paces away. Afterward, she doesn’t have a second to breathe before she must walk a wooden tightrope bridge for the next timed hurdle.

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Learning from the Best

“You’re late, hurry up!” a sharp command voice rings out of the darkness as a 1st Mission Support Command Best Warrior competitor hurries downhill to the PT formation.

It’s the early hours of the morning at Camp Buchanan, Puerto Rico and already the drill sergeants from the 1-389th Regiment, 98th Training Division (IET) are setting the standard for the week to come. 

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Drill Sergeant named hospital CEO

Monroe County Hospital selected administrator Lorraine Smith on Tuesday, Jan. 31 for the position of MCH Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Smith, who has worked for Macon-based Navicent Health for 10 years, had been MCH’s administrator since July 2017. Smith replaces outgoing CEO Darren Pearce, who stepped down last week after serving as MCH CEO since August 2016.

Smith, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native, has over 17 years of healthcare experience, including various clinical laboratory and leadership positions at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Navicent Health. Prior to being appointed as MCH’s administrator, Smith was the Director of Operations at the Medical Center of Peach County.

In addition to her work in healthcare, Smith serves as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve where she has over 20 years of service and is currently the Headquarters, 98th Division First Sergeant, a unit responsible for training basic entry soldiers. In 2003, Smith was deployed to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Army Reserve first sergeant associates new CEO position with lessons learned from drill sergeant duty

Juggling the responsibilities of both a civilian career and a military career just got a little tougher—and more rewarding—for Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Lorraine Smith. The former drill sergeant, who is now a first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), just became the Chief Executive Officer for the Monroe County Hospital, a Navicent Health Partner, and attributes the new promotion to some skills learned while in uniform and on the trail.

The Bonaire, Georgia resident served as an Army Reserve drill sergeant for about three years, with a full year of that time on the trail at Fort Benning. While molding civilians into Soldiers, Smith said she learned through her blunders of thinking in the moment and not five to seven steps out. “I had to figure that out the hard way as a drill sergeant, and so now, in my civilian career at the hospital, I really try to always focus a few steps out, rather than what’s immediately in front of me.” In time, she realized that she needed to be more strategic with her plans, considering third- and fourth-order effects.

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1st Brigade, 98th Training Division Wins DoD Reserve Family Readiness Award

Soldiers and Civilians of the Family Readiness Group from 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) were awarded the 2017 Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. March 23, 2018.

The award, which was established in 2000, recognizes the National Guard and Reserve units, one from each of the seven reserve components, with the very best military Family support program.

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Family Readiness Gives Back to Volunteers

Volunteers are the unsung heroes behind nearly every family readiness group, but U.S. Army Reserve FRG leaders at Fort Benning decided to change that with a tune of appreciation.

Leaders of the 718th Engineer Company and the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), gathered together on February 24, 2018 at the U.S. Army Reserve Center at Fort Benning to give a special thanks to those who selflessly serve on a regular basis.

“It is because of you all that we can help,” said Erica Quinzon, the FRG Leader for the 718th Engineer Company, who organized the Thank You Luncheon, which was complete with awards and certificates of appreciation.

The U.S. Army Reserve understands the value of Families, said Command Sergeant Maj. Todd Priest, division command sergeant major, 98th Training Division (IET). “One of the pillars of readiness is family readiness. We cannot deploy to combat without those Families and sponsors who support that process,” he said to the crowd of volunteers and sponsors. “You are all vital to our success.”

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8th Annual Golf Tournament September 24, 2018

Springtime and summer are busy times for the 108th Griffon Association and its members. Planning and early stages of execution, including updating and revising tournament messaging, and identifying and contacting sponsors and volunteers are getting underway for the 8th Annual Soldiers’ and Families’ Golf Tournament scheduled for the 24th of September in 2018.

This time of year starts a six-seven months process of bringing together all aspects of a successful golf tournament and means lots of work for Griffon Association supporters including members and our friends at Knight Communications without whose help we could not pull things off. Most of the money the association has available comes from proceeds of the tournament, which netted us just a little over $11,000 in 2017.

Scholarships

Springtime is also when our scholarship committee composed of Lin Ingram, Bob Gwaltney, and Brian Donnelly starts accepting (deadline of 1 April) and reviewing scholarship applications from young men and women who are children/grandchildren of both active reserve Soldiers and honorably retired members of the 108th Training Command and its subordinate units. Also eligible for consideration are Soldiers themselves from those units, who are pursuing post-secondary education.

The committee develops an order of merit list, which it submits to the Board of the Griffon Association with recommendations concerning the applications received. Much work goes into reviewing the applications, identifying an order of merit list and making recommendations to the board. The board then reviews the committee’s recommendations, selects the winners and decides on the amounts awarded based on the amount of funds the Association has available.

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Serving Those Who Serve

Dedicated to You

The Military Program at UBH Denton is one of the nation’s oldest and most-experienced dedicated military programs. Staff has deep experience working with service members in all branches and at every level of the military. It is an honor and privilege to help reclaim lives of those who serve the United States. Each individual has a customized treatment plan to address individual challenges and utilize strengths.

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Choosing a Career in Art and Design

We’ve all heard it: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Indeed, choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. But let’s be honest. When it comes down to it, people tend to choose a career based on pay, not because they’re passionate about the work.

In recent years, however, more people are turning to art and design careers. Service members and veterans are discovering that they can follow their dreams by pursuing degrees in art and design — and still get paid. Transitioning from military service to higher education doesn’t mean your military experience is a thing of the past. A 21st century art and design education provides military students with the tools and entrepreneurial knowledge needed to establish a successful career in the arts.

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Buckle Up for All New Excitement at Universal Orlando Resort™

Get ready for a full throttle rush of adrenaline as Universal Orlando Resort™ unveils its newest attraction.

This spring one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time comes to life as Universal Studios Florida™ premieres Fast & Furious – Supercharged™, a high-octane ride that lets you and your family live the excitement you’ve seen on the big screen.

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Visit Panama City Beach: Year-Round Sunshine

Panama City Beach may be known for its 27-mile stretch of sugar white sand, turquoise green waters, and year-round sunshine, but what may be surprising to the average visitor is the wide variety of activities and amenities the destination has to offer. Whether you are looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure, a romantic weekend away, a fun-packed family vacation, or looking to take a break in nature, the “Real.FUN.Beach” has you covered. Visitors from all over the world choose to come the area for our beaches, but there is much to be discovered beyond the shoreline. If you are looking for a little action on your next trip, we have a list of exciting and unique activities for you to explore.

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Find Your Adventure at Fort Dodge

Visit the Fort Dodge region and pursue an adventure to suit your interests. Whether your adventure includes outdoor recreation, the arts, sporting events, or the relaxation of unique restaurants and shopping, Fort Dodge offers travelers a variety of enjoyable options only minutes from Highway 20. Visitors can hit 70 miles of trails at Iowa’s largest off-highway vehicle park, Gypsum City OHV Park, throw out a fishing line or enjoy 45 miles of equestrian and mountain biking trails at Brushy Creek State Recreational Area or float 70 miles on the scenic Lizard Creek or Des Moines Water Trails.

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Sip, Savor, Shop and Enjoy your Stay

Kent County, Maryland, stands gracefully along the shoreline of the Upper Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. A community steeped in history, nature, maritime, agriculture, and art, the County of Kent offers an array of experiences designed to delight the senses. From the chance to rediscover the depth of nature’s beauty, to the opportunity to engage with an art rich community, this is a destination that will infuse you with excitement for all the adventures that spring and summer promise.

Kent County has a rich agricultural history, as well strong traditions around working the water. As a result, farm-fresh food and straight-from-the-water seafood are the standard for a dining experience. In fact, locally sourced ingredients are found on many menus, from the wine and cheese shop in Chestertown to cafes to fine dining restaurants throughout the County.

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Sunshine Sand & Seafood

Vacations have a way of reminding us of the important things in life. And a beach vacation on the Alabama Gulf Coast does just that. From the moment one steps onto the soft, sugar-white sand, a transformation is set in motion. Life seems to slow to the rhythm of the waves and worries melt away. The Alabama Gulf Coast boasts 32 miles of pristine white sand beaches, a laid-back attitude and family-friendly atmosphere. 

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Enjoy Waterfalls, Summer Concerts and More With a Visit to Hendersonville, N.C.

Hendersonville’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina makes it a natural oasis for rest and relaxation. The town’s reputation as a summer escape dates back decades to the days when Charleston, South Carolina residents traveled to Hendersonville seeking respite from the hot, humid low country summer.

In addition to its temperate climate, today Hendersonville offers abundant outdoor adventure, downtown events and a robust craft beverage and dining scene.

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Cedar Hill, Texas: A Breath of Fresh Air

Are you looking for adventure this summer?  Look no further than Cedar Hill, Texas.

The city, a short 20 minute drive from downtown Dallas, is nestled among rolling hills at the highest elevation between the Red River and the Gulf Mexico. Our relaxed, inviting ambiance cultivated in family-friendly values, brings easy access to a variety of outdoor fun but also to other attractions throughout North Texas.

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Experience History at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum may be a museum based on ships that are around 75 years old, but the stories these historic vessels have to tell is presented with cutting-edge technology of the 21st century. For the past five years, museum staff has worked to create exhibits that bring history to life and create a true experience for visitors. The newest exhibit, the first phase of the USS Yorktown Engine Room Experience, opened earlier this year.

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Adventures with Cody Mountain Biking the ‘Op’

Fall in the Heart of Appalachia is the perfect time for outdoor exploration and adventure. The picturesque change of seasons colors is spectacular and the weather is at its best for hiking, biking, off-roading, bouldering and whitewater rafting. Far southwestern Virginia is an outdoor adventure land year-round, but autumn invigorates the senses like no other time of year.

All five of Spearhead Trails ATV/OHV trail systems are now mountain biking and hiking accessible, opening up a whole new world of opportunities for unmotorized adrenaline boosting excitement.

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Summer Fun to Fit Everyone

Take charge of your summer fun with a vacation that’s perfect for you in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Sevierville, Tenn. – From outdoor adventures to theme parks and amusements – even shopping trips – sometimes it’s hard to choose how you want to spend your summer vacation. It can be even harder to find a destination that pleases everyone traveling with you. But never fear, Sevierville, Tennessee is here with perfect summer break ideas to help you get the most fun out of the season.

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Chattanooga: Trolley Tours, Street Parties, Music Festivals and More

Chattanooga is the Gateway to Tennessee and is nestled along the banks of the beautiful Tennessee River and surrounded by the spectacular scenic beauty of the mountains and the Cumberland Plateau.  You will enjoy a newly revitalized green riverfront city, first class attractions, great Southern hospitality, rich Native American and Civil War history, outdoor adventures and locally owned restaurants & cafes,  a thriving arts & music scene with plenty of annual festivals and events that offer year-round fun. 

We are located right off of Interstates I-24; I-59 and I-75. You can park your car and check out the free Electric Shuttle or enjoy a great sightseeing tour with Gray Line’s Hop on Hop off Trolley Tour. Your ticket is good for 2 days and children ride free with a paying adult. Purchase online at  https://graylinetn.com/tour/chattanooga-hop-on-off-trolley-tour-2/  or at their ticket office at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Lobby.

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The Griffon Vol. 42.1 (Spring 2018)

The Griffon Vol. 42.1 (Spring 2018)
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The 108th Training Command got its start as part of an elaborate deception prior to Operation Overlord, the D-Day Invasion of France in World War II. The Division was a "phantom" division created on paper and assigned to the First United States Army Group under the command of General George Patton. We were the original Institutional Training (IT) Division and remain one of seven training divisions for the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard. The Griffon is in its 30th publishing year as an award-winning authorized publication written in the interest of the men and women of the 108th Training Command.

  • The Griffon is written and published quarterly in the interest of the 108th National Training Command. It is shipped directly to member's homes and to Training Command bases throughout the U.S.
  • The Griffon is regularly recognized by the Pentagon with their highest rating of Four Stars as one of the largest and most informative authorized publications in the Army.
  • Our members use The Griffon for prescreened, approved resources and opportunities for themselves and their families.
  • The Griffon is required reading material with a message straight from the General.