STAUNTON, Va. –
Veterans of the 116th Infantry Regiment and Soldiers of the Virginia National Guard’s Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team gathered to honor the unit’s history and enjoy an evening of camaraderie at the 55th annual 116th Infantry Regiment Muster Nov. 11, 2023, in Staunton, Virginia. Congressman Ben Cline and Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia, both delivered remarks and Col. Jared Lake, commander of the 116th IBCT, provided an update on the brigade’s activities over the last year.
“The Normandy Brigade has had an eventful year since the last muster,” said Col. Jared Lake. “We’ve fully reintegrated and reset the brigade from one of the largest deployment cycles in recent history. This year’s event is intended to be a little different from past years, with a focus on celebrating the regiment’s homecoming, since between COVID and the deployments, we haven’t had the entire brigade home and together in a while. We also wanted to give the opportunity for people to connect with folks you may not have had a chance to interact with in some time, and that includes the families.”
In addition to the state of the brigade address, Lake also presented the 2023 Superior Unit Award to the Fredericksburg-based Alpha Company, 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 116th IBCT, recognizing them as the top company-level unit in the 116th IBCT. The Soldiers of Alpha Company in attendance cheered in honor of their new award while holding up their flag from their table.
Ring spoke about the importance of Veterans Day and the history of the regiment, and Cline expressed his appreciation for service and sacrifice of veterans.
“As we celebrate today, on this important day, Veterans Day let’s recognize and honor the millions of veterans who have served. Many of which are in this room,” said Cline. “As a nation we extend a hand of gratitude to all those who have put their lives on the line to protect freedom in our homeland and around the globe, and to those who continue to serve today. Your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Retired Brig. Gen. (Va.) Charles B. Faulconer Jr., Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, appointed Kenneth and Linda Parker, Edmund Davidson, and Kristina Arbogast as “Honorary Colonels,” in recognition of their extraordinary efforts in support of the regiment. Each individual was recognized for their dedication and contributions to the 116th Infantry Regiment.
A candlelight ceremony honored the memory of departed comrades with a roll call of those regimental members who passed in 2023, and there was a moment of silence and playing of taps as a tribute to all the regiment’s fallen warriors.
Lake’s update to the more than 250 guests attending the muster highlighted some of the most significant training achievements and completed missions of the 116th over the last year:
- 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment welcomed home Soldiers from multiple overseas deployments, participated in the Arctic Forge exercise in Finland and served as the command element for Operation Lone Star in Texas
- 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment returned from federal active duty in Africa ending their mobilization as Task Force Red Dragon, supported Operation Lone Star, had two Soldiers earn the Expert Infantryman Badge during annual training and two Soldiers earned Ranger tabs
- 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment adopted the “St. Lo” call sign honoring the battalion’s historic role in capturing the town of St. Lo, France during the Normandy Campaign, welcomed home Soldiers who deployed with Task Force Red Dragon, had two Soldiers earn the EIB and conducted their annual “Chubby Cup” best squad competition
- 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment returned Soldiers from mobilizations in support of Operation Joint Guardian and Operation Enduring Freedom, supported multiple state active-duty missions in their home state of Kentucky, had seven Soldiers earn the EIB and won two national-level awards from the Association of the United States Army and the National Guard Association of the United States
- 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment returned from their Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar mission in Iraq and began transitioning back to their field artillery mission, sent four Soldiers to support the Arctic Forge exercise in Finland and represented the modern military at the annual Military Through the Ages event at Jamestown
- 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion welcomed back the Soldiers of their Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Detachment from deployment and provided individual Soldiers for mobilizations in Africa, Iraq and Kosovo, they conducted the annual Warrior Stakes competition during annual training focused on urban demolitions, boat and riverine operations, communication, land navigation, and maintenance and had 70 Soldiers earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge
- 429th Brigade Support Battalion provided exceptional support to units across the entire brigade and ensured the 116th could continue to shoot, move and communicate through their distribution, maintenance and medical companies and forward support companies