Veterans with 42nd Infantry Division gather in Albany for annual reunion
This week, Albany played host to the annual reunion for veterans who have served with the 42nd Infantry Division. As our Beth Croughan learned Saturday, that service has spanned nearly a century.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "I think I see it, I see that little, I think the rainbow itself is pulling them together, just being in this organization," said World War II Veteran Richard Marowitz.
Just before World War I, the 42nd Infantry Division is formed with National Guard soldiers from 26 different states. The 42nd is nicknamed the Rainbow Division, for stretching across the country. Richard Marowitz, 86, served as a member during World War II.
"We all knew that we had somebody watching our backs. We all watched each other's backs," Marowitz said of his time overseas.
And he said he sees that same camaraderie among the current soldiers. The ones, now headquartered out of Troy, and those who have served in Iraq.
"I volunteered to deploy with the 42nd Infantry Division when they got alerted and subsequently mobilized and deployed in 2004," said Bruce Fien, a Judge Advocate Officer with the New York National Guard.
This week, veterans whose service spans more than 60 years, gathered in Albany for an annual reunion. It's organized by the Rainbow Division Veterans Memorial Foundation.
"It's kind of a changing of the guards. Not kind of a changing of the guards, it is a changing of the guards. And the World War II folks have maintained this foundation and have done wonderful work over many, many years. But obviously, as they age and dwindle in numbers, they've wisely turned to new leadership as the World War I people did to them," explained Foundation Chairman Retired Major General Joe Taluto.
But as the organization, the one with a mission to maintain the legacy of the 42nd, changes leadership. It's the guidance and insight of those that came before them that today's soldiers still seek.
"As soon as you walk into the room, we get 'Oh,the World War II guys are here.' You can't get away from them because they want to know everything, so they interrogate us," said Marowitz.