Fort Sam Houston commemorates the 90th Infantry Division

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Master Sgt. Vernon Schmidt placed one of the banners on the flag during the ceremony held by The United States Army North (Fifth Army) at Fort Sam Houston, honoring the contributions of the 90th Division made 100 years ago to the country’s efforts during World War I. (Photo, Nathaly Cruz)

On Friday Aug. 25, The United States Army North (Fifth Army) at Fort Sam Houston held a ceremony honoring the contributions of the 90th Division made 100 years ago to the country’s efforts during World War I. The ceremony is held on the 100-year anniversary of the division’s activation at Camp Travis.

During the ceremony services members remarked the importance of all the people serving in the military. Services members also placed battle streamers, “Tough ‘Ombres” division earned during the Great War. The division and its soldiers, mostly draftees from Texas and Oklahoma, earned battle streamers in St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and Lorraine campaigns of the war.

After the ceremony La Prensa had the opportunity to interview Lt. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, commander of U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Lt. Gen. Buchanan reiterated the importance of the ceremony and finalized with some word of encouragement for services members.

“It is the 100-year anniversary from this very day. One hundred years ago we uncased the colors for the 90th Infantry Division in the United States,” Buchanan explained. “They were preparing to mobilize and go to war for part of the Great War the American expedition force in France. All of this occurred right here in San Antonio in Fort Sam Houston Camp Travis.”

Lt. Gen. Buchanan continued by expressing what it meant for him to be present at the ceremony. “It is very humbling to see the shoulders of the people we stand on today and their sacrifices, their heroism that has made a differences in the world today. It is such a good example for all of us.”

During the interview, Lt. Gen. Buchanan also explained how the United States works closely with their neighbors. “We work very closely with the militaries of Canada and Mexico. The Sedan, [the Mexican army] is in a very difficult situation with the criminals and the drug organization, but they continue to perform with heroism. It is an honor to serve along with them,” Lt. Gen. Buchanan said.

To finalize the interview, Lt. Gen. Buchanan gave some words of advice for all of those serving or wish to serve this country. “Remember your loyalty to the constitution. Our country is a little unique that we swear an oath to the constitution and that is our ultimate loyalty of services,” Lt. Gen. Buchanan concluded.

La Prensa also had the opportunity to interview 91 year-old retired Master Sgt. Vernon Schmidt whom comes from a military family. During the interview he expressed how he felt to represent his division of World War II.

“It is exciting being here today! It’s a real honor for me to represent my division as a World War II veteran. You know there were a lot of good things said about the 90th and I am so proud that I had just a little part in serving in the 90th combat in Germany,” Vernon said. “It’s just a thrill to be here today and to meet all these great people and be excited about the 100 anniversary of a great organization,” Master Sgt. Vernon Schmidt said.

Vernon continued the interview by expressing what it meant for him to place the banners on the flag. “Well I saw it coming; you get all real excited you know. It was a real honor. I just feel blessed today. This has been a real neat occasion for me. ”

Lastly Master Sgt. Vernon Schmidt gave some words of advice for all of those serving in the military.

“I’m so proud they are serving because they want to serve not with their heads but with their hearts and that is what we need,” Schmidt said. “We got great people they give their lives on the line each day for serving this great country. And the freedom that we have enjoyed because of our military, we need to honor them, pray for them. We need to be thankful for such great people.”

For more info, visit www.worldwar1centennial.org or www.texasworldwar1centennial.org.

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