“Keeping America’s Veterans and Families Strong,” a theme from an organization that has been around for 100 years supporting veterans and their Families, was the key reason for their visit, Nov. 22 at Fort Bragg.
Armithea “Sissy” Borel, national president, Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, and auxiliary representatives from various posts wanted to show their support to the Soldiers who put their lives on the line.
The group was introduced to some of the training Soldiers go through to prepare for a deployment. The ladies toured the Virtual Training Facility and experienced the different types of weapons a Soldier may have to fire while in combat. They also fired the weapons at targets in the Engagement Skills Trainer.
“We’ve been here for a hundred years, and in a hundred years, all the way from seeing them off to bringing them home, to sending packages overseas, and making sure the Families are taken care of here, this job has been ongoing and rewarding,” said Borel.
In addition to firing weapons, the group also had the opportunity to experience a convoy operation in the Close Combat Tactical Trainer. After given their mission brief, to enter the fictious Middle-Eastern village and secure a drone, the ladies mounted their vehicles and secured their weapons. Each high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle had a driver, a truck commander, and a gunner.
After the mission was accomplished, the group visited the Warrior Transition Battalion, meeting with the Survivor Outreach Services, and listening to the heroic stories of three Soldiers and the Families they left behind from the Gold Star wives perspective.
“I feel like I’m a part of the celebration of life. Even through all the sadness, I’m so proud of all three of these gentlemen,” said Borel. “They stood for more than one person, and that means so much to us, and today, we celebrate their lives with you.”
There was not a dry eye in the room when Soldiers from the WTB entered the room to share their stories with the ladies. Some Soldiers are awaiting a medical board, while others are recovering and plan to return to their units upon rehabilitation.
“Each one of them and the individuality of the stories were amazing, but seeing the pride in each one of their faces, and the expression they make that’s saying they just want to get better so they can go back, that’s a commitment you don’t see often,” said Borel.
Soldiers joined the group in the WTB dining facility for lunch. As the ladies placed their trays on the table, some of them walked around showing their support to the Soldiers.
The Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW membership is open to grandmothers, mothers, wives and sisters of those who served overseas in a combat zone. They are an organization that is focused on serving veterans and their Families through national programs.
“We’re here to support all of our military and their Families, regardless of what it is they need, we will help, if not, we’ll find a way,” said Penny Cacoulidis, president, the state of North Carolina Chapter. “We’re here for you and we can always be depended upon.”
For more information or to join, visit www.ladiesauxvfw.org.