FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - Vernon Schmidt, a World War II 90th
Infantry Division Tough 'Ombre soldier met with some current-day
Tough 'Ombre (TO) soldiers from the 90th Sustainment Brigade during
a training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 21, 2013.
Members of the 90th Sustainment Brigade, "Tough 'Ombres," North
Little Rock, Ark., share training experiences with Mr. Vernon
Schmidt, former Tough 'Ombre and World War II veteran on March 21,
2013. While the 90th SB was on a training exercise at Fort Hunter
Liggett, Calif., Schmidt and his wife Dona visited with them and
shared many combat experience stories and how significant the 90th
ID was during World War I and World War II. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt.
1st Class Corey Beal)
Schmidt and his wife, Dona, gladly accepted an invitation
from Col. David M. Hammonds, commander of the 90th SB, North
Little Rock, Ark., to observe training along with the
opportunity to visit the newest generation of TO soldiers.
Schmidt was able to meet them and also got a chance to
explain some of the special lineage that comes along with
wearing the TO patch.
“I was so impressed with the
performance and professionalism of today's training that it
was just unbelievable,” said Schmidt. “It brought me a great
deal of pride as I witnessed them training on the same dirt
I trained on 69 years ago and was able to tell them some of
Schmidt captured the awe and
imagination of some young 90th SB soldiers by sharing some
stories from his World War II European combat experiences.
One soldier, Sgt. Tiffany Mays, a member of the 90th SB
Support Operations section, explained that some details were
so vivid she could almost hear the fighting.
can't explain how he brought some of his history to life for
me, it was so detailed and incredible” said Mays. “I felt
like I was there while he was telling us, that I just needed
the sounds of battle field to complete it.”
SB soldiers were unacquainted with just how deep the history
of the TO legacy is and just how far back the patch goes.
After meeting with Schmidt, Spc. Chelsi West, 90th SB Judge
Advocate General section team member, was able to more fully
appreciate her new-found understanding and pride through a
World War II veteran like Schmidt.
“I was not aware
of how much they sacrificed and how difficult it was for
them,” said West. “It was a huge honor to meet and listen to
the stories that helped create what we have today.”
“I was so overwhelmed at first just listening that I really
had no idea it was that special,” said Pfc. Tee Mackey,
Support Operations section member. “I really appreciate our
unit more now that I know some of the history behind it from
a person that actually experienced it.”
between this generation and the previous generation of Tough
'Ombre soldiers may have been brief, but it helped these
young soldiers meet actual living history from their own
Some were left in awe at how much some Tough 'Ombre
veterans from World War II endured while creating and
carrying on the legacy from the World War I veterans before
them. They now have a better understanding that they are the
newest generation that will carry the Tough 'Ombre legacy
forward and be able to help instill a sense of pride and
professionalism to the next generation of soldiers known as
the “Tough 'Ombres.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary Hawkins
Comment on this article