3th District Congressman Rodney Davis spoke last week to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Association in Springfield. Known as the “Sky Soldiers” from their actions in Vietnam, the group was being honored with an honorary week named after them due to a proclamation from Congress.
87th District State Representative Tim Butler was also on hand for the ceremony.
The ceremony was supposed to take place at Camp Butler National Cemetery but was moved to American Legion Post 32 in Springfield due to inclement weather. The ceremony was supposed to encompass the presentation of a recently placed memorial at the cemetery to preserve the memory of all fallen Sky Soldiers of the 503rd Infantry Regiment.
Davis says he’s always proud to speak to the nation’s veterans and honor their sacrifice and service to the country. Davis says its because of actions of veterans of all wars in all branches of service that the nation gets to enjoy freedoms that it sometimes takes for granted.
Davis says that he got to hear stories from Vietnam veterans at the ceremony as well as veterans from Operation: Iraqi Freedom and Operation: Enduring Freedom. Today, the 173rd Airborne Brigade serves as the Army’s Contingency Response Force and currently is deployed in Italy.
Davis urges anyone who is in the area to go to Camp Butler National Cemetery to pay respects and see the monument. He says the reason the monument is a rock is because the 503rd Infantry Regiment is nicknamed “The Rock.” The nickname is derived from the World War II Battle of Corregidor in 1945. Under heavy fire from enemy Japanese troops on the island fortress, the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team, descended upon “The Rock fortress” and liberated the island. The unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for its actions and has been called by the nickname ever since.
For more information about the 173rd Airborne Brigade and its history and the association. Visit skysoldier.net.