By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
Veterans of the 1st Cavalry Division have descended upon Central Texas for their annual reunion, which is set to include a Gulf War Commemoration at 11 a.m. today at the division’s museum at Fort Hood.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Gulf War, and attendees will honor the 12 from the 1st Cavalry who died then. Retired Gen. John H. Tllelli, who led the division during the Gulf War, is set to speak. Tllelli also served as the Army vice chief of staff and led U.S. Army Forces Command.
The 1st Cavalry Division Association hosts a reunion every year. It is at Fort Hood every other year. Several World War II veterans are set to attend, said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Webster, association executive director.
Each unit will host open houses so the soldiers who once served can visit with those currently serving. The museum and Horse Cavalry Detachment also will host open houses.
Retired Master Sgt. Robert Johnson attended the colors-casing ceremony for the 1st Brigade Combat Team on Thursday with his wife, Doris, and their 8-year-old great-grandson, James Berkowitz.
Johnson served with two companies in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, from December 1952 to December 1953 in Japan and Korea. The battalion is currently assigned to the 1st Brigade.
His military career spanned 22 years and he joined the association in 1988. He has since met a lot of good people, he said, both former soldiers and community members in the towns he has traveled to for reunions.
Webster said getting involved in the association can be a healing or therapeutic experience.
“Being around people that have shared the experiences of combat helps to lessen their symptoms and makes them feel more normal,” he said.
That isn’t always the case, he said, because for others it can be like a family gathering they plan for each year.
“For others it may be a chance to remember those that didn’t come home,” he said. “Friends that died much too young in lands far away.”
For more information on the association and the reunion, including a schedule of events for today and this weekend, go to www.1cda.org.