If not my son, then whose

October 24th, 2008 by InfantryMom

Another common question I get is why my son, in particular, should be the one putting himself in harm’s way and serving in our military. There seems to be a belief, a fairly prevalent one, that if one person doesn’t want to do some dangerous or unpleasant task, there will always be someone else willing to do it and that unwilling person can go on their way without a second thought.

It’s almost a variant of the “not in my backyard” issue where people don’t want anything necessary but ugly or unpleasant located near them.

I’m the first to say that I have avoided my share of issues or tasks. We all do, it’s human nature to at least a certain extent.

But is this belief true? Is there always another person who will willingly take on that task or job in the place of the person who refuses? Honestly, I don’t believe it is. After all, if it were true, would there have had to be a draft in the Vietnam era? Would there be the understaffing problems we currently have in the military today that cause those that have stepped up to be kept on the front lines longer than they should be? Would there have been a need for stop-lossing?

But why, then, do people seem to be either amazed or appalled at the thought that someone they know has voluntarily taken on a task they fear or find distasteful? After all, isn’t it what they wanted? For someone else to take the task?

For all the people who ask me “why your son,” I have a single question to ask in return – If not my son, then whose?

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Some early morning news

October 11th, 2008 by InfantryMom

InfantrySon called today and InfantryBrother managed to answer the phone before we could hear it upstairs. So the first we knew was InfantryBrother knocking on the bedroom door and telling us InfantrySon was on the phone and had a computer problem.

That’s right — the reason for the call was to seek tech support! LOL Hey, I’ll take phone calls from him, no matter the reason.

After InfantryStepDad walked him through most of his computer issue, I got a chance to talk to him. They’ve been through a lot of intensive training and he’s now assigned to the M203 Grenade Launcher. This is the grenade launcher mounted to the M16 rifle. You can see it in this photo below the barrel of the M16.

M16 with the M203 grenade launcher

He seems pleased with this assignment and says he’s doing well. He actually has another challenge coin now but I don’t have a picture of it. I think I’ll have to buy him a camera to get one :)

He also said their orders had changed and instead of deploying to Kuwait mid-December, they are going directly to Iraq and probably at the end of October. He gave me more details but I think they’re too specific for this venue.

It will probably take me a day or two to adjust my own mental timeline to this new update – not that it’s set in stone, mind you, things can change quickly.

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Company Coin

October 4th, 2008 by InfantryMom

When InfantrySon graduated from OSUT, he won the BRM award for his Company. This means his shooting score, along with some other factors, beat out every other person in his Company. He was awarded a certificate and a Company Medallion.

I’ll talk about what little I know about the actual roots of these coins/medallions in a later post but remember that I said I was really fascinated by Army heraldry? This Company Medallion is a little mini-history of the Company and I thought you might be interested in seeing it and the explanations of the symbology.

Note that these are thumbnails. If you click on the thumbnail it will open the really BIG photo for you to see more clearly. There’s a huge amount of detail that doesn’t lend to itty bitty pictures. I think side 1 is the “front” as it’s the Regiment’s crest.

This is a BIG “coin” and very heavy.

Side 1

Company Coin Side 1

This side of the medallion has the Regimental crest of the 2d Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment.

The sky blue background of the shield stands for Infantry.

The gold band across it is taken from the arms of Alsace, where the Regiment first saw combat service in 1918.

The ragged tree trunk in the lower left of the shield) represents the Meuse-Argonne campaign in WWI.

The ladder in the upper right of the shield is taken from the crest of the 6th Infantry Regiment whose personnel originally established the 54th Infantry Regiment. It represents the ladders used to scale the walls of Chapultepec in the Mexican War in 1847.

The six-pointed star above the shield is the insignia of the 6th Division.

The chain-mail foot commemorates the march from the Vosges to the Argonne and back to Southern France in WWI.

The banner below the crest displays the Regiment’s motto: I will cast my foot over it.

Around the outside of the coin are the highlights of the Regiment’s service:
- 2-54th Infantry
- Meuse-Argonne
- Alsace 1918
- Rhineland
- Ardiennes-Alsace
- Central Europe

I’m not actually sure what the star and rank markings above the crest are, nor the helm and palm. I’m trying to track that down. If you know, I’d love to hear it! Just leave a comment.

The star may be because the 2nd Battalion is the only remaining Battalion of the 54th Regiment and is the custodian of the Regimental Color. This may just be a wild guess, though :)

Side 2

Company Coin Side 2

This side seems to have a reduced coat of arms. There is still the blue of the infantry as the background. Across the shield is the gold banner of Alsace. The words “Mailed Foot” harkens back to the Mailed Foot crest commemorating the march from the Vosges to the Argonne and back to Southern France in WWI.

The upper right has the ladder from the crest of the 6th Infantry Regiment and the lower left has the tree trunk of the Meuse-Argonne campaign in WWI.

Around the circumference of the coin are the words:
- 2-54th Infantry
- Discipline
- Physical Fitness
- Marksmanship
- First Aid
- Battle Drills

These are obviously training related and I’d guess they came about in 1987 when the 2-54 was transferred to the Army Training and Doctrine command and Ft. Benning, GA.

I’m always interested in additional information, so feel free to pass any on. I love this pieces of history on a piece of metal. I’ll post more later about what I’ve found out about challenge coins, how it was presented and the challenge game.

Posted in Heraldry, InfantrySon | Comments Off