Benning commander among 2014 Rangers honored in Hall of Fame

Cars leave the Fort Benning main gate onto Fort Benning Drive Tuesday.  10.01.13
Cars leave the Fort Benning main gate onto Fort Benning Drive Tuesday. 10.01.13 rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

A former Fort Benning commander will be among 10 Rangers inducted into the 2014 Ranger Hall of Fame during a ceremony Wednesday at McGinnis-Wickam Hall.

Since 1992, the 1:30 p.m. event in Marshall Auditorium has been held to honor the contributions of the Rangers, America’s most elite fighting force.

Lt. Gen. John LeMoyne was commander of Fort Benning from September 1999 to October 2001. He joins Lt. Gen. Dell Dailey and Brig. Gen. Herbert Lloyd to make up the three general officers recognized. Other honorees are Col. Robert Guy, Col. Robert Tonsetic, Command Sgt. Maj. James Fowler, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Greer, Sgt. Maj. Peter Bacerra, Master Sgt. Kenneth Bachmann and Staff Sgt. Calvin Rollins.

The induction ceremony is conducted by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade and the 75th Ranger Regiment. To be eligible for the nomination, a soldier must be a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School and served in a Ranger unit in combat. The soldier also must be separated, retired or deceased from active military service for at least three years.

LeMoyne served 35 years in the Army, including two years at Fort Benning. He was commander of the post during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Since the recognition started in 1992, more than 335 Rangers have been honored. After the ceremony, photos and citations of the newly installed inductees will be preserved and displayed in the Ranger Hall of Fame located at the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade headquarters in Harmony Church.

Some local Rangers are among the honored over the last 22 years. Retired Col. Ralph Puckett was an inaugural inductee into the Ranger Hall of Fame. Puckett trained and commanded the 8th Army Ranger Company during the Korean War. He was recognized for his actions in November 1950 when his company of 51 Rangers was attacked by hundreds of Chinese forces during the Battle for Hill 205.

Last year, retired Master Sgt. Vincent Melillo was among 16 inductees in the Hall of Fame. Melillo was one of the original members of Merrill’s Marauders during World War II and the Korean War. Merrill’s Marauders were the first American troops to fight the Japanese on land in Asia during World War II. The soldiers traveled more than 1,000 miles, marching farther on foot than any other fighting unit.