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NEWS | Oct. 1, 2018

World War II Veterans rededicate monument at Fort Indiantown Gap

By Lt. Col. Angela King-Sweigart 95th Training Division (IET)

Twelve World War II veterans of the 95th Infantry Division, currently serving Soldiers, friends and family gathered Sept. 22 to rededicate the division monument here.

The monument was erected here 28 years ago to honor the Soldiers of the 95th Infantry Division, also known as the "The Iron Men of Metz" who trained here in 1944 prior to fighting in World War II.

The men of the 95th earned their nickname by fighting for the city of Metz, France, a fortified city that had been reinforced by the German Army. Though the Germans occupied most of France, the city of Metz itself had not been taken by force since Attila the Hun in the year 415. When the division captured the city Lt. Gen. Heinrich Kittel, commander of the German garrison, informed them of the name the Germans had given them, "The Iron Men of Metz."

The battle took place from late September through mid-December 1944 between the U.S. Third Army, commanded by Lieutenant General George Patton, and the German Army, commanded by General Otto von Knobelsdorff.

The veterans are all in their 90s, according to Ceo E. Bauer, who served in Company I, 377th Regiment, 95th Infantry Division and trained here with the Division. "I feel lucky to be here," he said, noting that many of the 16 million Veterans who served in World War II have since died. 

Bauer was severely wounded in action while serving as an infantryman in the Battle of Metz on November 8, 1944, and spent the next several years recovering in Army hospitals before having a successful career and family.

Speakers at the rededication included: current 95th Infantry Division commander, Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford, former 95th Infantry Division (IT) commander and president of the 95th Infantry Division Association retired Maj. Gen. Jim Archer and retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, former adjutant general of Pennsylvania and former 28th Infantry Division Commander.

All spoke of the sacrifices of what is known as the greatest generation.

"When the chips are down the United States always looks to the Army," said Craig. "We owe much to the Veterans of World War II your impact has been enormous."

The monument means a great deal to the Soldiers of the 95th Infantry division explained Archer. "This monument represents part of their remembrance-of their comrades-ones they lost during the war and since the war."

Fort Indiantown Gap is committed to honoring all those who served here.

"We are very happy the monument is here for all to see and remember their service. And also that the Pennsylvania Army National Guard is the caretaker of the monument and that it will always be here to welcome back these Soldiers who served here," said Archer.

The 95th Infantry Division was redesignated as the 95th Training Division, a component of the United States Army Reserve and is headquartered at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.