On May 5, 1945, a day after peacefully liberating the German
towns of Obersalzberg and Berchtesgaden, Soldiers from the 3rd
Infantry Division raised the Stars and Stripes over the Obersalzburg
as the European theater of World War II was drawing to a close.
Fast-forward 71 years, the Stars and Stripes were again raised
over the Obersalzberg as the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division's
Outpost International hosted a ceremony May 5, 2016, marking the
anniversary of the town's liberation.
May 5, 2016 - A combined color guard of Soldiers from 1st
Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division and the German
Bundeswehr take part in a ceremony marking the 71st Anniversary of
the Liberation of Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg, Germany. The
ceremony, hosted by the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division's
Outpost International, showcased the more than seven decades of
German-American friendship since the 3rd Infantry Division liberated
the towns in 1945 (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Randy Ready)
Retired Army Capt. Monica Stoy, the president for Outpost
International, said the ceremony was not just a
commemoration, but also a celebration.
also marked the beginning of a new relationship between the
United States and Germany,” said Stoy. “One that
moved rapidly from victor and vanquished, to partners and
then to friends.”
Stoy said the ceremony's combined
color guard, composed of current Soldiers from 1st Armored
Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division and the German
232 Mountain Infantry Battalion, is a reflection of the
ongoing partnership and friendship.
the U.S. Consul General in Munich, echoed President Barack
Obama's remarks from last year's G-7 Summit in Munich when
speaking of the more than seven decades of German-American,
and specifically Bavarian-American, friendship.
events of 1945 continue to serve as proof that conflicts can
end and great progress can emerge from them,” said Gavito.
“The partnerships forged out of those weeks and months 71
years ago – a partnership which sustained us through the
Cold War and reunification - gave way, in President Obama's
words, to one of the strongest alliances the world has even
U.S. Army Col. James Crider, a former 1st
Brigade commander currently assigned to U.S. Army Europe,
said the relationships built through NATO are just as
important now as the European continent prepares for new
threats, to include the rise of ISIS and a revanchist
“Today, NATO is adjusting its stance in
Europe from assurance to deterrence,” said Crider.
“Effective deterrence requires the demonstration of credible
capability and the will to use it.”
A big part of
that capability includes 1st Brigade Soldiers, currently in
Europe as the Regionally Allocated Force for U.S. European
Command, who were able to take part in the ceremony.
For Spc. Kourtney Winner, an intelligence analyst with
2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, the highlight of the
ceremony was meeting with Mr. Robert Dutil, a native of
Williams, California who served in the Division from October
1944 to the end of the war and was present for the initial
flag raising on May 5, 1945.
“It was fascinating; he
was a very nice guy to talk to,” said Winner, a native of
Pataskala, Ohio. “The Army was completely different when he
Having current Dog Face Soldiers participate
in the ceremony helped them gain a better appreciation of
the Division's history and the sacrifices the previous
generations have made.
“It was extremely inspiring
and I learned a lot of history about what the 3ID has done,”
said Spc. Scott Gaines, a petroleum fuel specialist with the
3rd Brigade Support Battalion from Seattle. “It was special
remembering everyone, especially Mr. Dutil and the troops he
was with from the 3rd ID.”
Gaines said it was an
honor to be part of the ceremony while inspiring him to add
to the illustrious history of the Marne Division.
For Crider, the brigade's current mission, strengthening
relationships and building interoperability by training
alongside NATO Allies, is the best way for the current
Soldiers to write their part in history while honoring
“Another war on the European
continent is unthinkable and perhaps even unlikely,” stated
Crider. “Let us all remain united and demonstrate to the
enemies of freedom that we plan to keep it that way. Perhaps
this is the best way to honor the sacrifice of those we
By U.S. Army Maj. Randy Ready
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