The 3rd Infantry Division continued the Twilight Tattoo’s 300-year-old tradition Thursday on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field, with the added ceremony of swearing into service 15 future soldiers and re-enlisting 15 current troops.
The hard-rocking soldier band “Sasquatch” got the pre-party started. Veterans, soldiers, spouses and children sat in the stands or reclined on blankets. Families browsed a static display of tanks and helicopters on 6th Avenue, including the 28.75-ton M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle and a 22,000-pound Storm helicopter.
After the Honor Guard and 3rd ID band marched onto the field, soldiers in period uniforms from World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and on through history to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan appeared one-by-one on the field, finally coming together as a living tableau.
Former 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo took the podium, first congratulating his parents on their 64th wedding anniversary and presenting his mother with roses. Cucolo then administered the oath of enlistment to 30 men and women — 15 raw recruits and 15 seasoned soldiers choosing to continue their service.
“They’re saying, ‘I have found my calling and I want to contribute more,’” Cucolo said. The general added that by taking the oath, these troops earn the title of “American soldier.”
Before the event culminated with troops fanning out on the field, cannons firing and helicopters hovering overhead, the Color Guard, band and costumed soldiers solemnly playing their parts, those assembled were reminded that 5,000 Marne soldiers still are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Most 3rd ID troops returned from Iraq last fall and earlier this year. The 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will redeploy in July.
On Thursday, nearly two hours after the Twilight Tattoo ended, 300 soldiers from the 3rd Sustainment Brigade were welcomed home from a yearlong deployment to southern Iraq, Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson, said.