Tough 'Ombres meet their past

April 10, 2013
Story by Staff Sgt. Gary Hawkins, 343rd Mobile Public Affairs Det.

FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - Mr. Vernon Schmidt, a WWII 90th Infantry Division Tough ’Ombre Soldier met with some current-day Tough ’Ombre (TO) Soldiers from the 90th Sustainment Brigade during a training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 21.
Schmidt and his wife Dona, gladly accepted an invitation from Col. David M. Hammonds, commander of the 90th SB, North Little Rock, Ark., to observe training along with the opportunity to visit the newest generation of TO Soldiers. Schmidt was able to meet them and also got a chance to explain some of the special lineage that comes along with wearing the TO patch.
“I was so impressed with the performance and professionalism of today’s training that it was just unbelievable,” said Schmidt. “It brought me a great deal of pride as I witnessed them training on the same dirt I trained on 69 years ago and was able to tell them some of my experiences.” 

Members of the 90th Sustainment Brigade, "Tough ’Ombres," North Little Rock, Ark., share training experiences with Mr. Vernon Schmidt, former Tough ’Ombre and WWII veteran. While the 90th SB was on a training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., Schmidt and his wife Dona, visited with them and shared many combat experience stories and how significant the 90th ID was during WWI and WWII. (Photo by SFC Corey Beal, 79th SSC PAO)

Schmidt captured the awe and imagination of some young 90th SB Soldiers by sharing some stories from his WWII European combat experiences.
One Soldier, Sgt. Tiffany Mays, a member of the 90th SB Support Operations section, explained that some details were so vivid she could almost hear the fighting.
“I can’t explain how he brought some of his history to life for me, it was so detailed and incredible” said Mays. “I felt like I was there while he was telling us, that I just needed the sounds of battle field to complete it.”
Some 90th SB Soldiers were unacquainted with just how deep the history of the TO legacy is and just how far back the patch goes. After meeting with Schmidt, Spc. Chelsi West, 90th SB Judge Advocate General section team member, was able to more fully appreciate her newfound understanding and pride through a WWII veteran like Schmidt.
“I was not aware of how much they sacrificed and how difficult it was for them,” said West. “It was a huge honor to meet and listen to the stories that helped create what we have today.”
“I was so overwhelmed at first just listening that I really had no idea it was that special,” said Pfc. Tee Mackey, Support Operations section member. “I really appreciate our unit more now that I know some of the history behind it from a person that actually experienced it.”
The meeting between this generation and the previous generation of Tough ’Ombre Soldiers may have been brief, but it helped these young Soldiers meet actual living history from their own past.
Some were left in awe at how much some Tough ’Ombre veterans from WWII endured while creating and carrying on the legacy from the WWI veterans before them. They now have a better understanding that they are the newest generation that will carry the Tough ’Ombre legacy forward and be able to help instill a sense of pride and professionalism to the next generation of Soldiers known as the “Tough ’Ombres.”


Col. David M. Hammons (left), commander of the 90th SB, North Little Rock, Ark., along with Sgt. Tiffany Mays, Support Operations section noncommissioned officer and Mr. Vernon Schmidt, a Tough ’Ombre from WWII, share a moment during the 90th SB training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 21. (Photo by SFC Corey Beal, 79th SSC PAO) Pfc. Tee Mackey, Support Operation section team member, span the many generations of “Tough ’Ombres” with Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Schmidt. Schmidt, a 90th Infantry Division Tough ’Ombre from WWII, shared many memories with 90th SB members during a short visit at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 21. (Photo by SFC Corey Beal, 79th SSC PAO)
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