425th Regimental Association

The regimental home of Company F (RANGER) 425th Infantry

An Airborne Merry Christmas

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A Different Christmas Story

Airborne Christmas


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.


Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.  
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.


My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.


The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.


My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.


A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a paratrooper, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.


“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”


For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts…
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right.


I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night. ”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.


My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers. ”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.


I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.


I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.  
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.


I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”


”  So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right. ”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son. “


Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.


For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us. “

 

One of our fellow Rangers has fallen

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SGT Bob Nanni recently passed away in a car accident. The details on the funeral as we know them are-

Saturday, 29 Jun, 10 AM – Visitation is at the Creek Center Banquet Hall 72025 North Ave Armada, MI the service will start at 11 then we will go to the West Berlin cemetery in Allenton (near the intersection of Almont and Capac Roads, east of Almont). After the service at the cemetery we will return to the Creek Center Banquet Hall for a luncheon.

Normal attire for funerals is the Class A uniform.  Retired personnel are authorized to wear the Class A uniform for such functions.  Informal Association policy is to wear slacks with a dark (Navy Blue, etc) sport coat with beret if an appropriate uniform is not available.  Retired personnel are authorized to wear decorations on the sport coat in lieu of a uniform.

9-11 We Remember

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We remember –

Do you?

The Purple Heart – the Military’s Oldest Decoration

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“The Purple Heart is the one military decoration all service men and women try their hardest not to receive.  But if awarded, is highly cherished.  Just looking at the Purple Heart Medal instantly reminds us that from the time of George Washington right up to the present War on Terror, our freedom isn’t free.” – Corporal Evans Kerrigan, USMC (ret.), wounded three time in the Korean War.

General George Washington established the Purple Heart at Newburgh, New York on August 7, 1782 to recognize soldiers for meritorious service during the Revolutionary War.  The award was a cloth “Badge of Military Merit” patch with an embroidered purple heart displayed on the left side of the chest.  It was the first U.S. commendation for common soldiers and is the oldest U.S. military decoration still in use.  At least three soldiers during the Revolution were award the Purple Heart.  Today August 7th is celebrated as Purple Heart Day.

The Purple Heart, however, did not become a medal until February 22, 1932, when on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, General Douglas MacArthur revived the award to recognize soldiers for meritorious service and wounds received in action.  The medal was shaped like a heart, colored by purple enamel with a gold bust of Washington in the center and the Washington coat-of-arms at the top.  On the back, “For Military Merit,” was engraved with space for the recipient’s name.

Initially an Army decoration in the 1930’s, Marine and Navy personnel who were assigned to Army units were also eligible for the Purple Heart.  In 1932, when the medal was first re-established, the soldier had to be alive and personally apply for the award.  Wounded veterans from past wars – including the Civil War, the  Boxer Rebellion, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the 1916 Mexican Expedition, and others – applied for and received the Purple Heart.

At the start of WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order declaring that the Purple Heart be awarded to any member of the military (regardless of branch or service) who are “wounded in action against an enemy of the United States, or as a result of an act of such enemy, provided such would necessitate treatment by a medical officer.”  The Legion of Merit, created in 1942, took the place of the Purple Heart Medal as a meritorious award.  The new executive order also awarded the Purple Heart Medal to all military personnel killed in action.

Between 1942 and 1997, civilians serving with the military were also eligible to receive the Purple Heart.  Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart after being killed by Japanese fire on April 18, 1945 on Ie Shima, a small island off Okinawa.

In 1997, the criteria for the Purple Heart was again revised and the medal today is only awarded to military personnel.  Civilians who are killed or wounded as a result of enemy action now receive the Defense of Freedom Medal – the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart Medal created after September 11, 2001.

Purple Hearts Awarded by Conflict (as of 8/21/2008)

Adapted from On Patrol, the USO magazine

The Deactivation Ceremony (End of an Era, Part II)

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Sunday, 12 June 2011, was a day we all dreaded to see arrive.  It was the day of an event we had all fought as hard as we could to keep from happening, but it did.

Home Station - Co F, 425 Inf

Few Rangers that still remain in the unit as most have been reassigned to other units or gotten out.  The mood was somber as former members watched the unit prepare for their final airborne operation.

No one was surprised that the jump came off perfectly and with no injuries. Three flights were made and five sticks were dropped.  However there were so few jumpers left in the company that everyone got at least two jumps.

At 1400 hrs the deactivation ceremony took place on the lawn outside of the armory.  The ceremony began with the 82nd Airborne Association drill team, presenting the colors.

The Final Formation

The new Adjutant General for the State of Michigan, MG Gregory Vadnais, was introduced and he conducted his part of the ceremony which included a reading of the history and honors of CO F.

Following that, CPT Adam Jenzen the Company Commander came to the podium and gave a great farewell speech for Company “F” which is included in full below.

CPT Adam Jenzen (The last "Old Man"

After his speech CPT Jenzen took his place before our company one last time and the Regimental Colors, were retired by simply encasing them.  A very austere ceremony, for an end to the greatest company the MIARNG has ever seen or will ever see again.

The National Colors were then retired and it was over.

And yes there were tears in the eyes of many of those present.

Thank you to former 1SG Ben Walker for his input to this post.

The FAREWELL SPEECH by CPT Jenzen

I would like to welcome all of our honored guests, friends, family, and former members.

I came to the unit in 2002 taking the position of unit armorer shortly after joining the Michigan National Guard following 4 years on active duty. I expected to serve a short time with Company F, just long enough to finish my degree, hopefully receive a commission and then move on to other things. Boy was I wrong…

Company F grows on you. Here, men were encouraged to constantly improve themselves through rigorous training that pushed soldiers to their limits. Those soldiers who choose to quit, were encouraged to seek units elsewhere. This mind-set instilled a sense of belonging to those who made it.

Through an established and well executed selection and training process basic soldiers were taught to become long range surveillance team members. With the support of their fellow soldiers, new recruits gained respect and earned their positions. Bonds were established through blood, sweat, and tears creating a warrior mentality that spurred self-confidence and devotion to the unit.

Company F became a home for these men, a sanctuary from the everyday world, where you were not judged on your social status, how much money you had, or what car you drove, but on your level of dedication and performance. The friendships that were made here and the sense of pride in each soldier and the unit as a whole is one of the reasons men chose to stay here, passing up promotion opportunities and career advancement in exchange for a true sense of self accomplishment.

Through the years, the men of Company F have prided themselves as being the most highly trained and tactically proficient soldiers in the Michigan Army National Guard. Through multiple overseas training events and two deployments we have demonstrated our professionalism and level of expertise. We have proven ourselves to be the best at what we do.

I wish that I could stand before you and discuss the unit’s future; unfortunately that is not the intent of this event.  Instead, I stand before you as the last commander of Company F. It is a solemn occasion, one that we hoped would never come. The men that you see here will be the last to don the red berets and proudly call themselves members of F Company, 425th Infantry.

We find ourselves in difficult times, being forced to make choices we would rather not make. Many of you have voiced your disdain and frustration at the events that have led to this moment. We have all pointed fingers, written letters, or searched for a course of action that we hoped could prolong this moment or alter the path we have been given. Unfortunately, the decisions have been made and the time has come for us to part ways.

I encourage you to brush off the chip on your shoulder and go forth, taking with you the lessons you learned while you were here. Develop new bonds and friendships, push your fellow soldiers to improve themselves, and pass on your knowledge and experience to others. Each of you have now been charged with the responsibility of being a representative of this Company. You must set the standard, and through your actions show others that while this unit may be gone, the principles we established and the professional soldiers we created live on.

Remember that you are and will always be a member of Company F.

Rangers Lead The Way.

For "Absent Friends"

Now gone, but never forgotten – We, the 425th Regimental Association, now carry on the lineage and honors of the best LRRP company in the U.S. Army!

Final Jump and Deactivation Ceremony

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The formal deactivation ceremony for Company F will take place at the unit armory on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 1400 (2:00 PM).

If you wish to attend you MUST contact SFC Brandon Post at (586) 239-6121 or email him at brandon.l.post@us.army.mil.

Unless you have a current  Military ID Card,  SANGB is a bit difficult to enter.  Even if you have a Military ID Card all other adult occupants of your vehicle should have a picture ID. Preferably a drivers license

If you do not have an ID Card contact SFC Post ASAP but NLT than 1200 hrs on Wednesday,  8 June,  to be put on a list that will be sent to Gate Security.  You should still have a picture ID for all adult occupants of the vehicle but being on the list will make entry easier.  There are events on two different days. You must specify what date or dates you plan to attend.

Due to number of people attending it is suggested you get to the gate as early as possible.

The final parachute jump of the unit will also be on June 12th.  First lift at 1200 and the second at 1300 from CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

For unit members and former members only, there will be a farewell party on Friday June 10th at the armory at Selfridge ANGB starting at 2000.  Food and beverages are provided.

The End of an Era

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Saturday, Dec 11, 2010 marked the end of an era. Company F (Long Range Surveillance), 425th Infantry held its last Dining Out. Company E & F (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol), 425th Infantry was created from Companies A & B of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 225th Infantry in 1968. Company E was stationed in Pontiac and Company F was stationed in Detroit. In 1972 Company E was inactivated and Company relocated to the Pontiac Armory. Company F has moved from designations as an LRRP unit through Ranger to LRS. To my knowledge Company has never failed to accomplish an assigned mission. Throughout its history the unit had a love/hate relationship with its higher headquarters, always loved by the Adjutants General and hated by the staff, yet always called on and counted on for difficult assignments.

In addition to its two recent deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it was the first Michigan Army National Guard unit to deploy overseas with all of its equipment since the Korean War. In the early 1990’s it got its regimental colors and Distinctive Unit Insignia from the Department of Heraldry and its motto, “Around the World Unseen.”

The final Dining Out was a great event with present and past members coming together for a final hurrah! It was a special event in that we were fortunate to have Company F’s first Commanding Officer, Tom Tack attend and speak to the audience.

Tom Tack (Gray Suit)

LTC (Ret) Tom Tack & COL (Ret) Don Bugg

MSG (Ret) Bill Poynter, COL (Ret) Don Bugg, 1SG (Ret) Charles Lovett, LTC (Ret) Bob Wangen, CPT (Ret) Wayne MacKalpain, LTC (Ret) Tom Tack, CPT Jenzen

A Soldier’s Christmas

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The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered,  perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
to the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night”

“Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
that separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue… an American flag.

“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another
or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
who stand at the front against any and all,
to insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

Michael Marks
December 7th, 2000

Company F Redeployment Homecoming

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From Fox news Detroit – More than 100 Michigan soldiers are back at home tonight.

The happy reunion at Selfridge Air National Guard Base marked the end of the soldiers 12 month tour of duty in Iraq.

The 150 members of Company F, 425th Infantry left Michigan in May of 2009.

After some training in Fort Lewis, Washington, the soldiers arrived in Iraq where they provided security during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Today, nearly 850 Michigan Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are deployed in support of the global war on terrorism.

Fox 2’s Simon Shaykhet was at Selfridge on Saturday for the special welcome home ceremony that came with a surprise.

Click on this link for the Fox News Detroit video. Company F Homecoming

67th Anniversary of D-Day

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Today marks the 67th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion.  While many brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen died on that day, let us remember those brave men of the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions.  It was on this day that many brave Rangers gave what Abraham Lincoln called,  “the last full measure of devotion.”  John 15:13 says, “Greater love has nonormandy_om_02 one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  These Rangers put their lives on the line, and many gave the last full measure of devotion for their friends and comrades, their unit and their country.

It was in January of 1944, when GEN Omar Bradley gave LTC James Rudder, commander of the 2nd Ranger Bn the mission of capturing Pointe-du-Hoc.  Bradley finished by saying, “It is the most dangerous mission of D-Day.  LTC Rudder, replied, My Rangers can do the job.”

ddayss-pdh-lowtideThe Provisional Ranger Force (2nd and 5th Ranger Bn), under the overall command of LTC Rudder was divided into two elements.  Task Force A (Companies D, E, and F, 2nd Ranger Bn, under LTC Rudder) and Task Force B (Companies A and B, 2nd Ranger Bn and the 5th Ranger Bn, under the command of LTC Max Schneider).

The plan was for Task Force A to assault the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc, and once successful send a message to Task Force B to follow on as the second wave.  If Task Force B did not receive the signal by 0700 they were to land after the 29th Infantry Division on Omaha Beach and move overland to Pointe-du-Hoc to reinforce the 2nd Bn.

The 2nd Bn ran into more opposition than expected and took longer to take the cliffs and consolidate their position.  ByRangers-pointe-du-hoc-1 the time the signal was sent to Task Force B, LTC Schneider has already shifted the force to land on Omaha Beach.  This meant LTC Rudder and Task Focre A had to “hold until relieved” with a bare minimum force.

Task Force B landed in the middle of “Bloody Omaha” where assault waves of soldiers were stacking up against the seawall and the tide was coming in.  It was during this point in the assault when BG Norman Cota, Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division said to the troops on the beach, “Don’t die on the beaches, die up on the bluff if you have to die, but get off the beaches or you’re sure to die”  Cota turned to LTC Schneider, telling him, “I’m expecting the Rangers to lead the way.”  That was the beginning of the motto, “Rangers lead the way!”

Rangers-OmahaDecades after the formation of the 1st Ranger Battalion in Scotland, Rangers continue to lead the way in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”