Soldiers of E Company, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment, were presented their blue Infantry chords Thursday during a “turning blue” ceremony at Kannell Field on Sand Hill. Their new accouterment signified their path as Infantrymen after completing one station unit training.
“Fifteen weeks ago, 220 civilians from all walks of life, all races and all religions — from every corner of this country — arrived here along different paths but all with one common goal and that is to become an Infantryman in the United States Army,” said 2nd Lt. Dorn Majure, the company’s executive officer.
“They didn’t know each other, they didn’t know what to expect and they didn’t understand the Army way of life and they didn’t know Army values — values such as loyalty, duty, selfless service and integrity,” he said.
At the beginning of their training they quickly learned discipline and the importance of maintaining order, Majure said.
“(Lack of discipline and order) is a virus that can destroy even the strongest of armies,” Majure said.
Staff Sgt. Michael Orosz, a drill sergeant, said making sure Soldiers had the discipline and teamwork skills they needed to face the fast-paced Army life was most important.
Orosz said he wanted Soldiers to be able to assimilate into their units quickly, as some of the Soldiers would be deploying and going to other places, including Airborne School.
As Soldiers progressed throughout the course, they learned to have confidence in themselves and in their teammates — understanding that they can accomplish a lot more as a team, Majure said.
“They began to appreciate no matter what their differences or beliefs — their one common denominator is being an Infantryman,” Majure said. “The toughest profession in the Army but a job in which he knows that the man to his left or to his right is his brother and can say because of him, ‘I can get through anything.’”
Pfc. David Thomas, 1st Platoon honor graduate, said even when a person is down they have others they can count on to keep them positive. He said it was what kept him mentally and physically strong during his training.
“Tell yourself that you can always do it,” Thomas said. “Always stay positive and there will be times when you feel down but just know you have guys — to your left and to your right — that are probably in the same situation and who are there for you. You get back up pretty quickly and it helps to stay positive.”
Majure said by the end of training, the Soldiers had grown into confident, competent and physically fit men.
“Men who not only bettered themselves but who have also been given the tools and knowledge to become positive contributors to society,” he said.
Thomas said he was proud of his accomplishments.
“(There is) no better feeling in the world than to know that I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do,” Thomas said.
Majure congratulated the Soldiers of E Company on their success and offered some advice.
“Continue to train hard and listen to your noncommissioned officers and you will succeed,” Majure said.
Pvt. Brandon Johnson said the ceremony was “amazing” for him and the training to reach this point in his military training took “sacrifice, discipline, being mentally tough and working as a team.”
Johnson said he looked forward to making a career in the military and having the chance to better himself and others.