Troops of different generations find common ground

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Servicemen from different generations found out they have a lot to learn from one another this Veterans Day. Dozens of members of the Third Battalion, 346th Regiment traveled from Camp Shelby to spend time with veterans at the Biloxi VA. As the veterans admired the latest in military advancements, they soon realized much has changed since they served.

"We had jeeps and prime movers and a few other things when I was in there," said Francis Hartley, who said he left the military in 1945. "They've got guns now that I can't even pronounce, some of them. So we're strong. We better stay that way."

The Third Battalion, 346th Brigade is made up of reservists, national guardsmen and active duty soldiers. Spending Veterans Day at the Biloxi VA was a chance for the soldiers to get to know those who paved the way for them.

Lt. Col. Anthony Scotto said, "It's great to come down here and bring the vehicles that we brought down here. Let the veterans have the opportunity to get to play and look at the new toys we have and what's different from when they served."

"What we really get out of it is what they tell us in the stories they tell," said Scotto. "Each of the veterans that are here has their own story, has their own reasons for being here, had their own reason for serving. It's just very fulfilling."

Participants wanted the Veterans Day to also include a tribute to those gunned down last week at Fort Hood. During the ceremony, soldiers lit 13 candles with one for each person killed. Chaplains prayed for the victims' families and expressed appreciation for those who serve.

Chaplain Eric Whitmore of Keesler Air Force Base said, "We owe so much to those of you sitting in front of us. We owe so much to those that lost their lives last week in the tragedy and in the horrific event as we found out that one of our own had gone against us. "

The servicemen said whatever branch they serve in, they are a family who will push forward together.

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