Greetings folks from Ft. Sill, Oklahoma!
Ya know, there is so much bad news that I could talk about today. There’s the FBI background investigation on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the seventh, that the Democrat [Socialist] party demanded, that is done, but now the leftists say it is not good enough. I could address the person who will just not go away, Hillary Clinton. She is still talking about those pesky “deplorables,” you know, the “dregs of society.” Then, there’s those racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, haters that support President Trump. I could articulate how stupid the UN International Court is for demanding that the United States lift sanctions against Iran. Remember those fellas, the mad mullahs who talk about “death to America” and are the number one state sponsors of Islamic terrorism? Maybe it is redundant to use those two words together?
Well, I do not want to talk about any of that. I want to share good news with y’all for a change, uplifting news that sometimes we need to read, hear, and just ponder.
See, it was 35 years ago that a young kid from the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, showed up at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma to start what would become a 22 year career in the United States Army. It was late October, 1983, and my dad let me take his 1976 Lincoln Continental, two-door coupe, to Ft. Sill. I had fulfilled his challenge, to become the first military officer in the family. Dad was a World War II Army Corporal and his first son, Herman Jr., was a Marine Corps Lance Corporal Infantryman in Vietnam. I was a young Second Lieutenant signing in to my first duty assignment, US Army Field Artillery Officer Basic Course (FAOBC).
Today I am here on Ft. Sill for the First Infantry Division Artillery reunion. Yes, all of us ol’ Redlegs are getting together to tell tall tales, and remember good times, old times, and those who are no longer with us. “No mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great. Duty first!” is the motto of the First Infantry Division, with whom I served in my second duty assignment after Artillery Officers Advanced Course. The artillery unit in which I served at Ft. Riley, with the famed Big Red One, the 5th Field Artillery, is the nation’s oldest artillery regiment, dating back to the command of young Alexander Hamilton. Our motto is “Faithful and True.”
And so I am back here, where it all began for me, watching a new generation of Redleg soldiers. Today we are spending the time with the troops of the 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and it just warms my heart and soul to know that, far away from the swamp and sewer of Washington, DC, these young men and women stand, the best our nation has to offer.
But, there is also a very special treat for me. My own nephew, with whom I am staying, is the Deputy Assistant Commandant of the Field Artillery School. Yes, my older brother’s son followed in his uncle’s footsteps. He is the fourth generation of combat servicemen in our family, of West men, and the second generation of officers, Redlegs! That, folks, is what sustains our Constitutional Republic: generation upon generation of Guardians of the Republic. It is not the disgusting, despicable displays we see on the news calling themselves elected officials. I think of Senator Richard Blumenthal, who lied about serving in Vietnam. I wish he were here to look these Vietnam era artillerymen in the eye.
Last night I had an even greater pleasure, courtesy of my little grandniece, Jordan, who recited the Preamble of the US Constitution to me. After fighting back tears — ya know, I have an image to keep — I told Jordan that her dad, her granddad, her great-granddad, and her uncle had all taken an oath to the very Constitution for which she recited its preamble. This ladies, and gents, is how we teach our children, and we honor the challenge of Benjamin Franklin from September 17, 1787: “a Republic if you can keep it.”
My Thursday morning started out on Ft. Sill like it did 35 years ago: a nice 4-5 mile run. It brought back fond memories, and reminded me that I ain’t no spring chicken anymore. Gone are the days of my being able to run a mile in 6:30.
But, never, ever will the mottos of Duty First, Faithful and True, Airborne, Air Assault, Semper Fidelis, and Steadfast and Loyal be gone , , , never forgotten. The reason we honor these maxims is to defend the honor of our nation, and to safeguard our loved ones. My wife Angela is the daughter of a soldier, a man whose final duty station is in Arlington National Cemetery. Our girls, Aubrey and Austen, are the daughters of a soldier, and I pray that when they walk by my final duty station they will look upon that gravestone with pride.
No, I did not want to accentuate the negative today. I wanted to share with you what I am experiencing at this moment. Today I am walking just a tad more upright and my chest swells with pride.
Sometimes, we need to unplug and go back to those days. Those days that remind us of what defined us early on, and establish our purpose. It is great to be here at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, home of the Field Artillery, and to be around soldiers, past and present. We are the ones who set the standard, the example for soldiers of our future, those who will step up and utter those famous words one day: “no mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great. Duty first!”
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, published October 16, 2018, from Brown Books Publishing Group.