Outpost Europe Hosts 64th Anniversary Celebration on Obersalzberg


Im Folgenden finden Sie den Bericht der Society of the 3rd Infantry Division zur Gedenkveranstaltung am 5. Mai 2009 auf dem Obersalzberg. 

Outpost Europe Hosts 64th Anniversary Celebration on Obersalzberg

By Monika and Tim Stoy

It was a cool, overcast day on 5 May 2009, just as on 5 May 1945, when Outpost Europe hosted the 64th anniversary celebration of the division’s liberation of Berchtesgaden and the Obersalzberg at the division’s memorial tablet in front of the InterContinental Berchtesgaden Resort on the Obersalzberg. It had rained 3 days straight before the ceremony, and it rained that afternoon too, but for the ceremony we were blessed with good weather.

United States Army Europe (USAREUR) supported this outstanding event with an honor platoon led by SFC Thomas Murphy and a color guard led SSG Gonzalez, both from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment from Vilseck, Germany, as well as with a brass quintet under Sergant Major Buford from the USAREUR Band. The soldiers from 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment had practiced the Dog Face Soldier for weeks prior to the ceremony and did a marvelous job singing our song during the ceremony. Especially touching was their singing it one more time before they departed the hotel that afternoon in honor of our great division and veterans. The outpost is especially thankful to General Carter Ham, USAREUR Commander, for making their outstanding support available.

We were also honored that four soldiers from Fort Stewart represented Major General Cucolo – 1LT Samudio, SSG Luce, Sgt Norris, and Sgt McCarver, all recently returned from Iraq. Their participation greatly reinforced the link between the hard charging division of WWII and the hard charging division of today.

Hotel general manager Mr. Claus Geisselman and his excellent staff ensured we once again received outstanding support, hosting breakfast for our soldiers as well as a very nice post-ceremony luncheon.

This year we were very happy to be joined by a representative of the German Army – Major Koehl – the executive officer of the 232nd Mountain Infantry Battalion stationed in a nearby garrison. The mayor of Berchtesgaden, Mayor Rasp, the deputy county commissioner, Mr. Schaupp, and numerous members of the local community joined us to mark the great friendship that still exists between the United States and Germany which grew out of the long presence of Americans in and around Berchtesgaden which began in May 1945.

Dr. Bernhard Oswald, who has been instrumental in our emplacing the tablet and enabling our ceremonies on the Obersalzberg, delivered comments on behalf of the Bavarian government while Monika delivered the keynote address honoring our great division and our great WWII soldiers incorporating comments from Major General Lloyd B. Ramsey and LTC Sherman Pratt, both great Marne Soldiers who stood on the Obersalzberg on 5 May 1945 and whose spirit we felt with us throughout the ceremony.

In her address, Monika pointed out “the division had the most casualties of any division in the war - 25,977. In one day of the Anzio Breakout in May 1944 it lost almost 1000 men killed in action. It had the most days in combat of any division in the European Theater of Operations, 531. It had the most Medal of Honor winners of any division in WWII – 37. The most decorated soldier of the war, LT Audie Murphy, served in the division, as well as the second most decorated, CPT Maurice Britt. When asked which division he regarded as the best he had faced, the German Field Marshal Kesselring named the 3rd Infantry Division. The Division well earned the respect of its opponent and the name Blue and White Devils.”

We also missed the presence of our veterans from last year, John Miller, Bob Dutil, and Ross Brown – who had helped make last year’s ceremony so very special. They were also with us in our thoughts as we stood there and watched our soldiers raise the colors over the Obersalzberg.

We have already begun making arrangements for next year’s 65th anniversary ceremony, which we plan to make a very big event. The hotel and Dr. Oswald are prepared to continue their outstanding support to the outpost and the event. So please, mark your calendars for 5 May 2010 and save up so you can travel to Berchtesgaden and celebrate our great division at that very significant place.

Outpost Europe would like to extend its’ great appreciation and deepest respect to all our WWII veterans who contributed so much to the division’s sterling record and led to our ability to celebrate this very meaningful anniversary on the Obersalzberg.

Rock of the Marne!