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Camaraderie keeps 29th Infantry Division members together

March 16, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA.

Camaraderie.

That one word is the reason the members of Lantern Post 729 of the 29th Infantry Division Association say they continue to meet each month for breakfast.

The 29th Division Association, similar to the American Legion or AMVETS, is comprised of current and former members of the 29th Division - the National Guard unit best known for spearheading the landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

"When men fought in combat, they form that bond that will last a lifetime," John Wilcox, national executive director, said.

Wilcox, who is one of about 30 association members who attend breakfasts in Waynesboro, said the association provides assistance to the families of 29th Division members serving in the Middle East.

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"Iraq, Afghanistan, where there's conflict, there are 29thers there. There hasn't been a war fought without the Guard," Alvey Ford of Waynesboro said.

Wilcox said the 29th Division Association is purchasing a memorial for the median of U.S. 15 in Emmitsburg, Md.

"It kind of carries on the history of the regiment," he said.

There are members of the 29th Division Association across the United States, although most hail from the East Coast.

The members of the local post, which includes at least one Purple Heart recipient, lay a wreath at the Hagerstown City Courthouse, march in holiday parades, attend comrades' funerals and are encouraging politicians to open a rest and relaxation facility for members of the National Guard.

"We all kind of look out for each other," Stanley McIntire of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., said.

He said the camaraderie between members of the association transcends age, rank or the war in which the person served.

"We tell war stories. The only thing is they get bigger every time," he said with a laugh.

"Military comradeship is different than any other I think," McIntire said.

"It's the military spirit. We believe in the military," Donald Buhrman, adjutant, said.

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