35th ‘Cacti’, veterans unite in Pittsburgh for annual reunion

| August 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

1st Lt. Angel Rosario
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

Cati Soldiers and veterans join together to hold up the colors during the annual 35th Infantry Regiment “Cacti” Association Reunion in Pittsburgh, recently. (Steve Rainbolt | Courtesy Photo)SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — In the past, mankind has found through hardships the strongest bonds are created. 

These bonds can turn strangers into family and make enemies comrades. 

Bonds of strength and nature were celebrated recently at the annual 35th Infantry Regiment “Cacti” Association Reunion in Pittsburgh.

The five-day reunion focused on reuniting Cacti veterans of all ages from each of the previous wars. This annual event gives direction and a point of interest to the association, and strengthens the bond between Cacti veterans and current Cacti Soldiers.

More than 250 veterans and family members attended the reunion with eight active duty Soldiers from the battalion, including Lt. Col. Colin Tuley, commander, 2nd Battalion, 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Jones Jr., command sergeant major. 

Special luncheons and dinners were held throughout the week to bring all members together at different venues, in and around the Pittsburg area.

“Everyone involved had a great time at the reunion,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Girard, 2-35 Inf. Regt., 3BCT, 25th ID. “Meeting with past Cacti members, trading stories and learning about our units history from those who wrote it was a great experience.”

The reunion gave Cacti leaders a chance to closely interact with fellow veterans and work outside of their normal operational environment. Cacti Soldiers were on hand to visit with fellow regiment Soldiers, lend their service as color guard members and facilitate other activities, which Soldiers executed flawlessly, gaining appreciation and accolades from all veterans. 

The official banquet included the color guard presentation; a POW/MIA presentation conducted by the current 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt.; a speech by the president of the organization; and a “State of the Regiment” Cacti brief by Tuley.

During the reunion, 2-35th Soldiers of all ranks conversed with Cacti veterans and exchanged coveted “war stories.” Veterans were humbled when talking to Soldiers who had served multiple combat tours both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“For our current Cacti Soldiers, the experience was immeasurable, as they gained better appreciation for the sacrifices and historical lineage of this great regiment,” Tuley said. “The legacy Cacti were floored by the youth and experience of our current Cacti Soldier. 

“(At) multiple venues, both legacy and current Cacti Soldiers were able to share many, many stories. As one can expect, some of the stories were more ‘exaggerated’ than others,” he said.

The reunion gave an opportunity for current Cacti Soldiers to share their existing efforts and discuss sacrifices with the veterans from previous conflicts. 

“I think one of the most important things that our Cacti Soldiers gleaned from the veterans of past was that they just weren’t that different after all,” Tuley said. “They found they were all good men serving their nation, (had) great wives and families supporting their Soldier and they all shared one common goal serve their nation well and protect their fellow Cacti buddies to their right and to their left.” 

Overall, according to participants, the reunion was an extraordinary event that helped current and veteran Soldiers strengthen those famous bonds that link the 2-35th Inf. Regt. “Cacti.”

Category: News

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