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NEWS | March 5, 2016

88th RSC supports memorial program to honor heroes and inspire communities

By Catherine Threat 88th Regional Support Command


FORT MCCOY, Wis. - The 88th Regional Support Command manages a small, but crucial part in The Army Memorial Program which honors fallen Soldiers by memorializing facilities in their name. It also has a responsibility to Soldiers, families, units and communities to stay true to the purpose of the program. 

The Army Memorial Program, Army Regulation 1-33, states “The memorial program is designed to – (1) Honor deceased heroes and other deceased distinguished men and women of all races in our society. (2) Present them as inspirations to their fellow Soldiers, employees, and other citizens.”

The 88th RSC Public Affairs Office is the primary point of contact for memorialization instructions, packet templates and submission procedures for facilities that fall within the 88th RSC’s 19-state region. 

The memorialization packet process is simple, but a packet can be complicated to complete. It takes a dedicated facility commander, a diligent action officer and a supportive community. 

The process begins by contacting the 88th RSC PAO. You will receive a packet containing The Army Memorial Program AR 1-33, the 88th RSC Letter of Instruction (LOI), a checklist, sample memos, and the memorialization packet template. Detailed instructions are laid out in the LOI, but there are some important steps to highlight. 

Facility Commanders are the lead for memorialization nomination selection, packet completion, submission and subsequent ceremonies. They, or an appointed action officer, actively solicit input from all units in the center and their chain of command, as well as members of the local community to include elected officials, civic and veteran organization leaders, and Army Reserve Ambassadors. This ensures the most outstanding candidates are nominated. 

Most importantly, the primary next of kin of the fallen Soldier must grant permission for their love one to be nominated. The family is the heart of the effort, not just another step in the process. The process of nomination should always involve conversation and connection between the family, the facility and the community. 

Nominations generally develop organically within the community and the units that occupy the facility. Communities, whether they are military communities on an installation or civilian communities that surround a Reserve center where Soldiers drill monthly, build a relationship of support around Soldiers and their families. 

It is this relationship that creates the foundation of a nomination. The family, the unit, and the community come together in a shared loss to honor a hero and establish a legacy. 

When a nomination is finalized, a packet must then be completed for submission. More than one Soldier can be nominated for a shared memorialization of a single facility, but separate packets must be completed for each nominee. Completing a packet can take anywhere from three months to more than a year. Once the packet is complete, it is submitted to our office for review and staffing. 

The 88th RSC public affairs office accepts completed memorialization packets for submission and holds a review board to determine whether a packet meets criteria and is complete and accurate. We then staff the completed packet to the appropriate approval authority. 

If your facility is an Army Reserve Center not located on a military installation, the 88th RSC commanding general is the final approval authority. For all other situations, refer to the regulation to determine final approval authority, or contact our office for guidance. 

Once the approval memo has been signed by the final approval authority, the facility commander coordinates with the 88th RSC Directorate of Public Works to order, deliver and install the memorialization plaque. The 88th RSC PAO will provide the current contacts for this coordination. Dates for memorialization ceremonies are set by the facility commander after coordination with DPW is complete. Facility commanders are responsible for memorialization ceremony planning and arrangement. 

The memorialization process takes dedication. It can become a blur of paperwork and steps in a process, but the purpose should not get lost along the way. You are not simply naming a facility - you are honoring a hero and inspiring a community. 

For more information, please contact Catherine Threat, 88th RSC Chief, Public Affairs at catherine.e.threat.civ@mail.mil, or 608-388-0336.

The U.S. Army Reserve Center at Fort Benjamin Harrison was memorialized in the name of Spc. Luke P. Frist, a Lafayette, Indiana, native, who died in 2004 during combat operations in Ar-Ramadi, Iraq. The Army Reserve’s 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) worked with the 88th RSC’s public affairs office to get the packet for this memorialization completed and approved. They hosted the memorialization ceremony on May 16, 2015. Capt. Sean Delpech, 310th ESC public affairs officer, covered the event. His coverage of the memorialization can be found at <a href="https://www.dvidshub.net/news/164351" target="blank">https://www.dvidshub.net/news/164351</a>.