Dressed in his World War II uniform decorated with medals, Staff Sgt. Dennis R. Ferk doesn't know how he survived fighting in the South Pacific but stood proud today as he helped unveil seven monuments for the Americal Division.
"I feel happy to see this monument because it memorializes the work we did in the Americal Division," Ferk, 91, said after a 10 a.m. ceremony at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center in Columbus.
The panels highlighted the history of a unit formed in 1942 on the Pacific island of New Caledonia to fend off a feared attack by the Japanese. Later renamed the 23rd Infantry Division, the unit also fought in Vietnam.
An hour later, a similar ceremony was held just west of the Americal monuments to honor the U.S. Army Ranger Advisors to the Biet Dong Quan who played a key role in training Vietnam Rangers during the Vietnam War.
The granite monument was dedicated to the 2,500 advisers who served in the war.
"We were a small unit at a special time in a special place," said Unit Director Bill Miller of Aiken , S.C. "When our members are gone, the unit is gone. That is why we're dedicating this monument: to preserve the legacy."