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Rakkasan Rendezvous 2021

 

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

101st Airborne Division - Fort Campbell, KYRakkasanFort Campbell, KY – Shared experiences can create lasting friendships, and when friends, who see themselves as brothers, get the time to reunite it is a good time to relive the old memories and to make new ones.

The National Rakkasan Association held a week’s long reunion which reunited over 200 Rakkasan veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam, and Desert Storm with events hosted by the Hamburger Hill Chapter on June 21st-25th, 2021.

Mr. Dan McBride, a WWII veteran and a member of The Rakkasan Association, salutes during a candle lighting portion of a memorial dinner at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, Tennessee, during a week’s long reunion on Fort Campbell June 24th, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Michael Eaddy)

Mr. Dan McBride, a WWII veteran and a member of The Rakkasan Association, salutes during a candle lighting portion of a memorial dinner at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, Tennessee, during a week’s long reunion on Fort Campbell June 24th, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Michael Eaddy)

“It is weeks like this that allow us to remember we’re not living up to the heroes and the legends of our past, that would be impossible,” said Lt. Col. Derrick Draper, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “Rather we are to honor them by preparing to become legends of today, whenever and wherever we are called to do so.”

“It is the honor of my life to be called Iron Six and to join this historic battalion of warriors.”

The week’s long reunion consisted of events that allowed the veterans to participate in an opening ceremony at the Rakkasan Pylon that pays homage to the fallen Rakkasans who didn’t make it home from their perspective campaigns, they had a day at the range where many of the veterans were able to fire weapons such as the M4 Carbine and M17 Service Pistol, and ended the week with a Memorial Dinner at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, Tennessee, where many of the veterans were able to mingle with current Rakkasans and honor the Rakkasans lost over the years.

Sgt. 1st Class Christina Kent leads the Colour Guard in a salute during the singing of the National Anthem during a memorial dinner at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, Tennessee, during a week’s long reunion on Fort Campbell June 24th, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Michael Eaddy)

Sgt. 1st Class Christina Kent leads the Colour Guard in a salute during the singing of the National Anthem during a memorial dinner at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, Tennessee, during a week’s long reunion on Fort Campbell June 24th, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Michael Eaddy)

The reunion has been often regarded as therapeutic for those who attend each year, and they look forward to seeing buddies who they have not seen in years.

“This is kind of an emotional need that I have every year,” said Greg West, who served in Vietnam with Alpha Company, 3-187th IR, 3BCT. “These are the only guys I can talk to about what we went through.”

 


 

The reunion was also a time where new Rakkasans can get a firsthand account on the unit’s history, told by the service members that served in the many wars the unit has fought in dating back to World War II.

“I’m super excited to meet with our veterans,” said Spc. Jacob Miller, a Soldier with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “I think it’s awesome to see the lineage and to [hear] the history from the people that were actually there.”

The substantial history of the Rakkasans is kept alive by teaching the newest generation of Rakkasans through reunions like this. Providing the current serving Soldiers with the time off from training to meet with and talk to veterans of the unit offers an opportunity for each Soldier to learn a firsthand account about the battles and wars the unit once fought.

The Rakkasans is a proud unit with a proud lineage with service members eager to keep its heritage alive by any means necessary.

“I’m proud to say I’ve served among [these men], I’m proud to say I consider them my brothers at arms,” said Maj. Gen. (retired) Weldon Honeycutt, former commander of the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “The proudest moment of my life is when I commanded the 3-187th.”

“I’ve commanded a lot of units bigger and smaller but this one was my pride and joy, always will be.”

The 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans” holding steady to its motto “Let Valor Not Fail”


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