FORT SNELLING, Minn. –
The 88th Readiness Division celebrated the Army Reserve’s 114th birthday combined with an open house at the division headquarters here April 29, 2022.
Roeder Circle named in honor of the 88th Infantry Division’s Capt. Robert E. Roeder, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic defense of Mount Battaglia, Italy in World War II, also was rededicated. The circle encircles the U.S. Army Reserve Center or Building 506, which was built in 1982 and dedicated Aug. 27, 1983. Inside the circle is the division’s insignia in two shades of concrete. It is two figures "8" at right angles, the result being a four-leaf clover, representing the four States from which the personnel of the division came from.
Maj. Gen. Darrell Guthrie, the division’s commander and keynote speaker, thanked everyone for attending the celebration.
“This event gives me a welcome opportunity to open my headquarters to the community, promote the Army Reserve and develop mutually beneficial relationships with you,” said Guthrie. He was standing in front of the division’s restored blue insignia with the flagpole placed in the middle of it. Blue symbolizes an infantry unit.
Several distinguished guests attended the event, including Senator Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Minneapolis), Eric Ahlness, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Minneapolis Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman and retired Maj. Gen. Paul Rehkamp, who commanded the 88th Army Reserve Command, a precursor to the division, from October 1989 until July 1993.
Torres Ray said, “A lot goes on and will go on here in terms of training, in terms of preparation, and in terms of strategizing to make absolutely sure that this a peaceful country and that this a peaceful area.”
She said that she is aware of how much an Army Reserve Soldier’s family plays a role in his or her being able to serve their country.
You bring your skills, you bring your capacities, your love for this country and makes it safe. Thank you. You bring peace,” said Torres Ray.
Guthrie noted that the Army Reserve has mobilized more than one million Soldiers in defense of the nation since its inception as the Medical Reserve Corps.
He listed that Army Reserve Soldiers numbering more than 185,000 have a plethora of professions, including doctors, engineers, first responders, and administrators. “They’re spread across 50 states, five U.S. territories and 20 time zones across the globe,” he said. “Today, modernization efforts are transforming the Army Reserve’s ability to support the Army’s role as a multi-domain capable force.”
Guthrie continued by informing the audience that through the Private Public Partnership Program, private and public sector employers benefit by gaining access to the best, brightest and most highly trained Army Reserve Soldiers, who are physically fit and drug free.
The Army Reserve’s presence in the state of Minnesota can be illustrated by its economic impact, which is nearly $144 billion, said Guthrie. That includes nearly $66 million in military payroll and almost $12 million in civilian payroll.
“Those wages in turn boost local communities because our Soldiers and civilians reside in those cities and towns where we have a presence,” said Guthrie.
The units based at Fort Snelling include medical, legal, engineer and public affairs.
Guthrie also informed the audience the mission of the 88th Readiness Division, which area of operation runs from Ohio west to Oregon and Washington State. “The 88th Readiness Division provides best-in-class services that enable readiness for supported commands in a 19-state region,” said Guthrie.
Guthrie also administered the oath of enlistment to three Future Soldiers, Ethan Fisher, Darrin Kuyper and Kenneth Stahl, and presented the Blue Devils Award to retired Army Reserve Ambassador Tom Haugo and the Public Service Commendation Medal to retired Army Reserve Ambassador James Lundell.
Kuyper, who leaves for basic training in August as a UH-60 helicopter repairer, said having Guthrie administer the oath was “pretty cool and an honor.”
The event concluded with the youngest Soldier, Spc. Daniela Galvan, assigned to the 13th Psychological Operations Battalion, Arden Hills, Minn., and the oldest Soldier, Rehkamp, cutting the ceremonial cake with a saber in honor of the Reserve’s birthday.
Attendees also had the opportunity to ride in a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
Viane Hoefs of the Toro Company, who cracked a huge smile as she buckled herself in the back seat of the JLTV said, “It was a great experience. I’ve never done anything like that,” after her ride.
Retired Maj. Gen, George Steiner, who commanded the 88th Regional Support Command from 1993 until 1997, said it best.
“We need more of these. The public needs to be aware of what the Reserve does.”