Maj. Steven Delgado, class of 1993, from Los Angeles, executive officer for 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, talks to 2nd Lt. Derric Grimes, a 22-year-old 2007 graduate from Chester, Va., now serving in Company E, 1-15th Inf. Regt., during the West Point Founders Day celebration on March 16 at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq.
By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Graduates of the United States Military Academy gathered in the dining facility here to celebrate West Point Founders Day, March 16.
Attendees included officers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, with guest appearances from Brig. Gen. Edward Cardon, class of 1982, the 3rd Infantry Division’s deputy commander of support, and Carl E. Case, from Springfield, Va., class of 1974, senior mine action adviser for the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.
The ceremony began with a brief opening from Chaplain (Capt.) Anthony Randal, from Arvada, Colo., 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, after which selected attendees told “There I was … ” stories of memorable events at West Point.
The academy was founded in 1802. Traditionally at Founders Day dinners, the youngest graduate present speaks on their tenure at the academy and how things have changed or stayed the same. This year, the youngest graduate from 3rd BCT was 22-year-old 2nd Lt. Derric Grimes, a 2007 graduate from Chester, Va., now serving in Company E, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment.
Tradition, memory and West Point experiences were the themes of the dinner, and many of the graduates felt honored to be part of the event.
“Graduates are always going to be tied together through our experiences at West Point,” said Capt. Nancy Preston, class of 2002, from El Paso, Texas, 3rd BCT engineer. “Events like this are part of the traditions that further those ties. Graduates of West Point are so spread out in combat zones. With events like this, cadets can get together and share experiences which are harder to embrace as the years have passed since we have been at the academy.”
Cardon and Case served as key speakers at the event, telling tales of their experiences at West Point and giving words of encouragement and appreciation to those who attended. Both speakers encouraged graduates to pass their appreciation to the Soldiers and non-commissioned officers who serve under them.
“Founders Day is a great time to reconnect back to the institution we all got a lot from and, in turn, have a lot to give,” Cardon said. “I’m in the Army for one reason, and that is because I enjoy being around people like you and your Soldiers who volunteered for this job.”
“You will always look back on these days as some of the most important things you did with your lives,” Case said. “I want to thank you.”
The 3rd BCT, from Fort Benning, Ga., 3rd Inf. Div., has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.