State of Connecticut 'adopts' Bamberg battalion, honors native son
Stars and Stripes June 22, 2003
BAMBERG, Germany — The 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery Regiment has been “adopted” by the state of Connecticut and marked the event with a ceremony last week at Warner Barracks.
No, the adoption doesn’t mean the state will send money or offer free room and board to its hundreds of new family members.
What it all boils down to is Connecticut showing its support of the armed forces, said Capt. Brian Tierney, logistics officer for the battalion, at the Thursday ceremony.
“It goes along with what (retired Maj. Gen. Charles Daniel Jr.) said in his speech. Soldiers are no longer vilified like they were during and just after Vietnam,” Tierney said. “We have this whole state sponsoring us.”
As part of the adoption, the 1st Battalion adds a new motto: “Connecticut’s Own,” that will be used with the regimental motto of “Servabo Fidem,” or “I will keep faith.”
Also, the battalion will fly the Connecticut state flag alongside the U.S. flag and the battalion colors wherever in the world it is — whether at Bamberg’s Warner Barracks or deployed across the globe. Recently, the unit displayed the Connecticut flag while deployed to Czech Republic for a training exercise, Tierney said.
During the ceremony, the battalion renamed its headquarters in honor of 2nd Lt. Geoffrey Ferris, a New Haven, Conn., native who was killed in action as a forward observer in Tunisia in 1943. He is the unit’s most highly decorated soldier, Tierney said. Ferris received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor and heroism.
The 1st Battalion headquarters will now be called Ferris Hall, and a display of Ferris’ medals will have a permanent home in the building’s regimental room, Tierney said.
Also during the ceremony, Daniel was named the first honorary colonel of the regiment, a title he will hold for four years, Tierney said. Daniel served with the 33rd Field Artillery Regiment’s 2nd Battalion during the Vietnam conflict and retired from the Army in 1979.
During remarks at the ceremony, Daniel mentioned how Americans’ attitudes toward the military have changed drastically since that time.
He also commended the 1st Battalion soldiers for their professionalism.
“It’s obvious to me the soldiers of this battalion are at the forefront of the professionalism of the 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Army,” he said.
The adoption, dedication and appointment of Daniel as honorary colonel are a way for the battalion to get back to its history.
The battalion was re-formed just three years ago, after being activated then deactivated after both world wars and the Vietnam War, Tierney said.
“We had no battalion historian before three years ago, so we’re striving to rediscover some of the battalion’s rich history,” he said. “The dedication is a way for us to get back to some of the history of the battalion.”