NEW YORK, N.Y. –
New York City - The U.S. Army Reserve 77th Sustainment Brigade solemnly celebrated 100 years since its founding in a ceremony in Central Park on June 10. Originally the 77th Infantry Division, the unit stood up in World War I and saw action in the Baccarat, Oise-Aisne, Aisne-Marne, and Meuse-Argonne campaigns.
The division gained fame in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, during which soldiers from the “Lost Battalion,” consisting of elements of the 306, 307th and 308th Infantry Regiments, made their historic stand. The 307th Infantry Veterans Society hosted the event at the 307th Infantry Regiment Memorial Grove, marked by trees, plaques, and a boulder commemorating those soldiers from the unit lost in World War I. The unit laid a wreath at the boulder, the 319th U.S. Army band performed, and the 389th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion provided the color guard.
The 77th continued its legacy in World War II in the Pacific, participating in the liberation of Guam, Leyte, Kerama Retto, Ie Shima, and Okinawa. During the latter campaign, 77th soldier Desmond Doss earned the Medal of Honor for his actions portrayed in the recent movie “Hacksaw Ridge.”
According to Major General (Retired) William Terpeluk, former Commander of the 77th Regional Readiness Command and a guest speaker at the event, “We are here to celebrate, honor, and give gratitude to the soldiers who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice, and to honor those soldiers who started the memorial grove.” MG Terpeluk noted that it was 100 years ago that the 77th embarked for World War I, and 75 years since they mobilized for World War II.
Terpeluk stated that the 77th Division was the first Federal Reserve division to fight in France in World War I and, because it drew primarily from the five boroughs of New York City, it included multiple ethnic groups and was the most diverse unit in the Army at the time. The 77th Division was nicknamed the “Metropolitan Division” and the “Statue of Liberty Division.”
Today the 77th SB is headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey since being activated there in 2008. In 2011 the Brigade assisted with demobilization operations in Iraq.
The event in Central Park is one of many taking place around the country over the coming year to recognize U.S. participation in World War I and contribute to a greater understanding of Army history. Historians refer to the conflict as “the war that changed the world” because the fallout is still being felt today in the Middle East and beyond. The war also ushered in the formation of the modern American Army in which the Reserve played a decisive role.
In 2013, the U.S. Congress established the World War I Commission to commemorate and honor those who served, and to educate the public (www.worldwar1centennial.org). All the commemorative events will culminate in the dedication of a National World War I monument in Washington, D.C. on November 11, 2018.