13th COSCOM Soldiers visit state veterans home

Story by Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

Soldiers of Special Troops Battalion, 13th Corps Support Command visited veterans at the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple, Nov. 10.

"It was great, learning what they've been through and hearing about their dedication…it's been a real eye-opener," said Staff Sgt. Jasmine Gabriel, schools noncommissioned officer, STB.

The visit was a learning experience for some of the veterans as well.

"It's a whole lot different now than it was when I was in. It's a different Army, but it still has a lot of the same traditions," said Wesley Hardeman, a resident and veteran of the Korean War.

The Soldiers of STB toured the Veterans Home before having lunch in the facility.

After lunch, several Soldiers gave a presentation during which they read biographical information about some of the veterans.

The Soldiers followed the presentation with a slideshow that was themed,"Veterans from the past to veterans of the present Army," said Maj. Ariel Rodriguez, executive officer of STB, 13th COSCOM.

Lt. Col. Terry Hildner, commanding officer of STB, and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry F. Brown, command sergeant major of STB, presented Jerry Patterson, Chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board with a certificate of appreciation and a plaque.

Master Sgt. Edward Zurita, maintenance noncommissioned officer in charge of the support operations office, 13th COSCOM and Master Sgt. Joseph R. Martinez, a plans NCO from G-3, 13th COSCOM spent a great deal of time with Thomas Vaughn, a resident of the veterans home and Battle of the Bulge Veteran.

"It's a whole lot better to get insight from someone who was there," said Zurita," You can get the feelings and emotions that history books can't portray."

Vaughn enjoyed the experience as much as the two Soldiers listening to his story," I took great pride in commanding a fine group of men, and I'm still that way," said Vaughn.

Vaughn continued," Just being able to talk to young Soldiers puts the old butterflies back in my stomach."

"This is something all Soldiers should try to experience," said Zurita," That way they'll know where we've come from and why we do a lot of the things we do."

The Soldiers took as much from the experience as the veterans did.

"The day has been incredible, taking a tour and mingling with all these veterans has been an experience I will never forget," said Gabriel.


news photo
Master Sgt. Joseph R. Martinez, the plans noncommissioned officer 13th Corps Support Command, shares stories with Wesley Hardeman, a veteran and resident of the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in Temple. Photo by Sgt. Joel F. Gibson, 13th COSCOM PAO