Army Holds Casing Ceremony
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"Everybody in New York State knew the Iroquois patch. The soldiers might not know what company, battalion or brigade they belonged to, but they knew they belonged to the 98th Division," said Norbert Rappl, former 98th Division Commander.
"What's really been a close family for many years is breaking up. And as we all know, breaking up is hard to do," said 98th Division Public Affairs Officer Edward Kupplinger.
A difficult moment for those close to the 98th Division, as the flag was taken down, and ceremoniously stored, for its move to Fort Benning, Georgia.
The Division Headquarters has called Rochester home since 1959, and the move is the end of an era.
"It's really a public form of closing out our time in Rochester, and then we'll have an uncasing ceremony next week in Fort Benning, to symbolize the beginning of our tenure in that location," said 98th Division Public Affairs Officer Commanding General Dwayne Edwards. "It's going to be very exciting. Fort Benning, Georgia is in the middle of a lot of things that the army does. We are right there with the infantry school, the armor school."
And while many things are on the horizon for the new headquarters, there is a sadness to the move, especially for those who have a history with the division.
"As they transfer from the banks of the Genesee to the banks of the Chatahooche, and the orange and blue of New York to the black, red and gold of Georgia, I hope they remember their heritage, and they build on the traditions, and the experience and the expertise of all of us who have gone before," said Rappl.
"We are going to have to rebuild much of the team, both the full timers and the uniformed reservists, and that will be a challenging activity, but I think we're going to put together an organization that the people in the New York area would be proud to consider the same 98th Division," said Edwards.
A reverse ceremony will be held in Georgia next week.
Three thousand people across the country make up the 98th Division.