Dr. Boozman's Check-up

The following column was published in the Southwest Times Record on September 21, 2014. 

SW Times Record

As the son of a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, I grew up in a family that had values rooted in military tradition. My dad’s service was a source of pride for us and I knew that wearing our nation’s uniform made him proud too.

Military service ran in the family. A picture of my grandpa and great uncle as young soldiers in France during WWI overlooks my desk in Washington and reminds me of the service and sacrifice of all of our nation’s past and present servicemembers. Like my dad, my grandpa and great uncle were members of the 142nd Fires Brigade Charlie Battery during their military careers.

I know many Arkansans can trace the military service of members of their family to Charlie Battery and the 142nd Fires Brigade. Exploring the history of the 142nd is like reading a book of our country’s military operations. Having been created in 1917 from the former 2nd Arkansas Infantry, members of the 142nd have a long history of supporting military operations at home and abroad. The unit participated in nearly every war and conflict since the Mexican Expedition. Most recently Charlie Battery received the Meritorious Unit Commendation award for its service in Iraq. 

Based in Ozark since 1963, Charlie Battery is part of community’s identity. To recognize its role in the community, and to honor the men and women who served and shaped our history, Ozark is bringing those whose lives have been touched by Charlie Battery together.

This unique reunion will bring together former commanders, members, family and descendants to reminisce and share memorabilia. I’m proud to join the community in celebrating the accomplishments of those, like my family, who served in Charlie Battery. I’ll be bringing some of my own keepsakes that have been passed down to me through the years.

Collecting and preserving these stories, memories and artifacts is important to recognizing the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their important role in our history. Providing future generations the opportunity to learn from their experiences is essential.

Arkansas has a rich history of service to our nation. Arkansans have always been willing to do their part to serve and protect. Our units stationed in the state are some of the best assets in our national defense made up of dedicated patriots. We have a proud tradition of honoring our state’s 250,000 veterans and we owe it to these men and women to ensure that their contributions to our country are preserved.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Charlie Battery, the role it’s played in my family and sharing stories with other Arkansans who have a connection to this unit.

For more on the reunion go to www.ozark142.org