Division Association Updates
Dennis Webster, Executive Director
October 13, 2006
I have some sad news to begin this update. Two Troopers that served with the First Team in Vietnam passed away within the past couple of days.
We were informed last night that the first CSM of the 1st Cavalry Division, CSM (Ret) Chester R. Westervelt, died on 10 October 2006 at the Columbus Hospice House, he was 84 years old. Memorial services will be held at 1600 hours on Friday 13 October at the Striffler-Hamby Mortuary, Macon Road Chapel. Burial will be held at a later date at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery in Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma. CSM Westervelt was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma and was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He served 31 years in the Army and was the Division Sergeant Major from July 1956 Ė June 1966. He was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division Association, the Association of the United States Army and an avid HAM radio operator. He is survived by his wife, Imogene Louise Metzger Westervelt, a daughter, a son, a grandson and a great granddaughter. The family asks that you omit flowers and make memorials to Columbus Hospice House, 7020 Moon Road, Columbus, GA 31909 in memory of Chester Robert Westervelt.
This morning we were notified that COL (R) Ken Mertel died yesterday, 12 October. COL Mertel was the Commander of 1-8 Cavalry (Jumping Mustangs) in Vietnam in 1965 and was the President Emeritus of the Jumping Mustang Chapter of the 1st Cavalry Division Association. His daughter is planning a memorial service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Hampton, Virginia on 24 October. No other information is available at this time. COL Mertel and I had numerous contacts in the last few years and he was a strong supporter of the Jumping Mustangs and the 1st Cavalry Division Association.
The Foundation of the 1st Cavalry Division Association and the 1st Cavalry Division Association Museum Foundation will accept donations in memory of CSM Westervelt, COL Mertel and other Troopers that have moved on to Fiddlerís Green to await the rest of us. Our address is 302 N. Main St., Copperas Cove, TX 76522-1703.
The Divisionís deployment is well under way and the sight of aircraft coming in and going out of Robert Gray Army Airfield is an everyday occurrence. The movement of the 3rd BCT is complete and the Air Cavalry Brigade is almost complete. Early flights for the Division Headquarters have departed and the 1st BCT, 2nd BCT, and 4th BCT have not begun their deployments yet. The 4th BCT will case their Colors in a ceremony conducted on Fort Bliss on 20 October. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1000 hours.
The Vice President of the United States came to Fort Hood to address the Troopers and thank them for their service. Several thousand of my closest friends (Soldiers) gathered on Cooper Field to hear the Vice Presidentís remarks on 4 October. He thanked the Soldiers and units at Fort Hood for their commitment to winning the war on terrorism and recognized several individuals in attendance including the three Mouton brothers, all assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division and all deploying to Iraq. Visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14909622/ to read the story on the Moutonís. Security requirements required that everyone be in place prior to Mr. Cheneyís arrival so the troops were entertained by the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Iím sure several Troopers thought that the cheerleaders were the reason that they got everyone together and that the VP came in as an add-on.
Veterans Day is fast approaching and we now have the times set for the placement of wreaths. On Veterans Day, Saturday 11 November, the Association with the assistance of the 1st Cavalry Division Honor Guard will place wreaths at the three war memorials. The wreath will be placed at the Vietnam Memorial during the 1300 ceremony conducted at the Memorial. Later that afternoon we will place wreaths at the World War II Memorial at 1600 and at the Korean War Memorial at 1630 hours. The Association will host a hospitality suite at the Hilton Crystal City located at 2399 Jefferson Davis Highway, in Arlington, Virginia from 9-11 November. If you live in the area or are coming into the area for Veterans Day stop and visit with us.
The 2007 Calendar is ready to go to the printer. They will set things up and send me a copy to check and correct any mistakes. Once it is final they will print and mail it out to our over 28,000 members. As usual, the calendar will include information on the 2007 Reunion and will include a letter from our President and provide a form to sign up or renew SABER and donate for the calendars. A postage paid envelope is also included in the calendar. We hope that you enjoy your 2007 calendar. I will arrive in Washington on 7 November and will be going to the National Archives to search for photos to use in upcoming calendars.
That is all for this update. Please let me know if you donít wish to receive these updates so I can take you off of my distribution list. If you know someone that would like to receive the updates please provide me with their e-mail address and Iíll add them to the list.
Keep the Troopers of the First Team and all who are defending our liberty in your prayers.