Last fall, the Army toasted the arrival of a two-star general and a new headquarters for a reactivated division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord with a sunny ceremony on its main parade ground.
The day had all the pomp of a military ceremony – speeches, canons and rows of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder unwilling to scratch any itch.
It all went well until the base’s brass band broke into the official but forgotten tune for the revived 7th Infantry Division. Soldiers had not sung it in the seven years the 7th ID went dark before the Army brought the headquarters back to Lewis-McChord.
Staring at the lyrics, soldiers and guests couldn’t figure out when to join in as the band played.
“I am the bayonet,” the lyrics go.
“Place your trust in me
“Hold your bayonets high
“So freedom’s light will never die.”
They can’t all have a chorus like “Hi, hi, hey, the Army’s on its way.”
Fall turned into winter, and winter to spring. Now I can report that troops at Lewis-McChord can follow along with the band, as demonstrated by a robust performance of the 7th Infantry Division song at a goodbye ceremony for a colonel last week. .
“Shout for victory,” as the song goes.
This week’s ceremony marked the departure of 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Col. Barry Huggins. We profiled him in Tuesday’s newspaper. He’s on his way to the Army’s Africa Command, where he will be the executive officer to Gen. David Rodriguez.
7th Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza had kind words for Huggins, who spent 10 of the past 12 years serving in Stryker brigades at Lewis-McChord and deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Under Col. Huggins, you have fought with honor and you have returned with honor,” Lanza said as he addressed 2nd Brigade soldiers.