As 2020 kicks off, Soldiers, veterans and families across the 98th Training Division (IET) are inevitably looking forward. The new year brings hope and plans and resolutions. However, every great leader knows, the best path to future success is to ensure the past is remembered.
To accomplish that mission, Iroquois Warriors gathered their history and designed a monument that earned a place at the National Infantry Museum’s Walk of Honor in Fort Benning, Georgia.
“Monuments are important because they act as historical touchstones. They link the past to the present and enable people to remember and respect the sacrifice of those who have died, fought, served or were affected by conflicts,” said Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Frank Puidokas, President of the 391st Regimental Officers Association, which was one of the driving forces behind the 98th Training Division Monument’s fruition.
Historical icons, like monuments, can help future generations remember and understand the sacrifices of the past. And for the 98th Training Division Monument, it represents more than 100 years of service by the Soldiers of the Division, said Puidokas during the July 2019 monument dedication ceremony.
“This monument recognizes all those who volunteered and sacrificed to make our Country just a little better. It also celebrates the camaraderie we have shared by wearing the Iroquois patch of this great unit. It honors the Iroquois Soldiers from the Division’s initial organization of 1918, to the veterans of World War II, through the Cold War and to all of those who have served in the continuing Global War on Terror,” said the retired command sergeant major.
Of course, coordinating the creation and dedication of a monument in Georgia from the Division’s original home in Rochester, New York, was no easy task. Between the active groups of veterans in the 98th Alumni Association and the 391st Regimental Officer Association, they were able to work with the current Soldiers and staff at the 98th Training Division, which moved its headquarters from New York to Georgia in 2012. Then of course, there was a need to coordinate with the National Infantry Museum and Columbus Monument Company, which created the physical structure.
“A little more than one year in planning, designing and funding this monument, and now it is now a reality,” said Puidokas looking out over the crowd at the dedication ceremony.
“I would like to recognize and thank all the monument committee members. For all their hard work and commitment will ensure the history, courage and sacrifices of the 98th Training Division Soldiers will be better understood by future generations of Soldiers and Americans.”