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voLumE 10, IssuE 4

juLY 2012

Puttin’ on the Ritz

NIM Set to Celebrate Benning’s Beginnings

Inside this issue: Community 2 welcomes new CG Old troop train moves to museum


Summer Camp Benning builds leaders


Every seat sold for 6 Dark Knight premiere MCoE Band rocks 4th of July fest


Construction mile- 7 stone for new hotel Events Team puts on a show



Can’t you just picture Daisy Buchanan dancing at Riverside? The charming and intriguing heroine of The Great Gatsby was the center of society in 1922 New York. That same year, Camp Benning became Fort Benning, and Riverside became the stately home of the Army post’s commandants and their families. Three years later, Columbus and Fort Benning held a mock wedding celebrating the completion of a paved road linking the two communities. This summer, the 1775 Society gala will celebrate that history. “Benning’s Beginnings” will feature decorations reminiscent of a 1920s garden party. The band will play lots of jazz classics and the 5-star meal will be topped off with a star spangled dessert. Tickets to the August 18 gala -- a fund raiser for the National Infantry Foundation -- are $150 per person. Active members of the 1775 Society receive two complimentary tickets. Call Jane Bayer at 706-695-2604 or email her at for more information. The gala will include a large silent auction of about 150 items, including a weekend at a California vineyard; a home stay (continued on page 5) Riverside, 1921

Remembering Long-time Judge, Retired Colonel Aaron Cohn Judge Aaron Cohn’s 96 years may have started to weigh too heavily on him, after losing his dear wife of 69 years, Janet Ann, in 2011 and giving up his longtime seat on the bench a few months later. Judge Cohn -- a beloved member of the community, a member of the National Infantry Foundation Advisory Board and a friend -- died on July 4. Friends say it was appropriate the retired (continued on page 2)

Judge Cohn in his office at the Muscogee County Courthouse, 2007



Armor General Takes Helm of MCoE MG H. R. McMaster received his second star and took over command of the Maneuver Center of Excellence from MG Bob Brown on June 13. Brown is to be promoted to Lieutenant General and will take command of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The ceremony on the parade field behind the National Infantry Museum featured representatives from each of the post’s units. McMaster is the installation’s 53rd commander, and the third since it became the Maneuver Center of Excellence. The Armor general has served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After greeting guests at a MG H.R. McMaster

reception inside the museum, McMaster told reporters he feels privileged to be joining the team at Fort Benning. “The potential here at Fort Benning is unbelievable. It’s already being realized based on the two schools co-locating,” he said. “It all happens here. This is the perfect place for our Army to bring all that combat experience together and institutionalize

Judge Cohn Remembered (continued from page 1)

U.S. Army colonel died on Independence Day. His daughter, Gail Cohn, described him as “a consummate patriot.” During World War II, Cohn was a major in the 3rd Armored Cavalry. He was instrumental in the liberation of the concentration camp at Ebensee. He frequently recalled the impact that event had on the rest of his life. “I was one of the first troops to run into the camp. The dead were lying all over the place. The inmates were standing there, looking at my gun. I heard one of them say in German that I was an SS Major because I had a gun. I told them, ‘Nicht nein bin ich...’ – I’m not an SS Major, I’m an American’ ‘Ah! American!’ And they crowded around. Most all these people of course were Jews. They were from every country in Europe. They had only one common sin – they were born the way they were – that was their religious heritage. And I said, ‘Ich bin ein... – I’m an American of Jewish faith.’ Well, when I said that it was like the Super Bowl. They kissed my boots, jumped all over me, hugged me. If they could have put me on their shoulders and carried me around they would have done so, but they were too weak to do that.” Cohn also opened his heart to countless wayward teens during his 46 years as Muscogee County Juvenile Court Judge. When he retired from the bench in September 2011, he was the longest serving juvenile court judge in the nation. At the time of his funeral, Judge Cohn’s family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to one of his cherished causes: the new Holocaust exhibit at the National Infantry Museum, due to open in late August 2012. Maj. Cohn in May 1945


Troop Train Reaches the End of the Line Number 1902, the locomotive that helped haul Fort Benning Soldiers from classrooms to firing ranges between 1919 and 1946, was moved to its new home on the grounds of the National Infantry Museum June 26. A crane was brought in to place the train on a prepared bed located between the museum and World War II Company Street. This is the same locomotive that sat for decades in front of the old museum building on post. It was part of a light rail system that carried both troops and supplies to outlying ranges. In the 1930s, an observation car was built to transport the post’s many distinguished visitors. Over the years the

A crane carefully lowers Number 1902 onto a specially prepared track near World War II Company Street. Board of Directors LTG Carmen Cavezza, Chairman Dr. Frank Brown Mr. Tim Farmer Mr. Sam Friedman Dr. Jack Goldfrank Mr. Julius Hunter COL Robert Jordan Dr. Eddie Obleton Dr. Robin Pennock Mr. Jack Pezold Mrs. Jean Puckett Dr. Carl Savory Dr. Robert Wright Ex-Officio Members CSM Steven McClaflin COL (Ret) Mike Burns Mr. Stephen Allie COL (Ret) Bob Brown

narrow gauge train was called everything from Old Fuss and Feathers to the Chattahoochee Choo-Choo. Locomotives were being built in the United States for use in World War I, but some never made it overseas before the war ended in November 1918. They were designated surplus and Fort Benning picked up the equipment for the The observation car Infantry School’s railroad. was built in the 1930s The post’s light railto carry VIPs around way system started with Fort Benning. two locomotives running on a one-mile track and increased to 20 locomotives running on 27 miles of track. The lines connected firing ranges, terrain exercise areas and lumber operations. On the same day the train and observation car were installed, crews placed three Infantry vehicles on concrete display pads for display near the parade field and stadium. They include a WWII Half Track Personnel Carrier M-3, an M-59 Armored Personnel Carrier and a Bradley M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

National Advisory Board GEN Ed Burba, Chairman GEN John Abizaid LTG Jerry Bates MG J.B. Burns Secretary of Army Bo Callaway MG Paul Eaton GEN Larry Ellis MG Carl Ernst LTG Tom Fields GEN John Foss Mr. Joe Galloway Mr. Mike Gaymon LTG Dave Grange Mrs. Richard Hallock GEN William Hartzog GEN Jay Hendrix MG Lincoln Jones GEN George Joulwan GEN Buck Kernan SMA Richard Kidd MG Will Latham LTG John LeMoyne MG Ken Leuer

GEN Jim Lindsay GEN Bill Livsey Secretary of Army John Marsh GEN Barry McCaffrey Honorable Bob Poydasheff COL Ralph Puckett Mr. Tom Rabaut LTG Ben Register GEN Bill Richardson Gov. Tom Ridge GEN Norman Schwarzkopf COL Mike Sierra LTG Mike Spigelmire LTG Mike Steele MG William Steele Mr. Mat Swift Mr. Fred Taylor Mr. William Turner Mr. Jim Weaver LTG Sam Wetzel MG Jerry White MG Walt Wojdakowski LTG John Wright BG Jim Yarbrough


Kids Take a Shot at Soldiering at Summer Camp Benning Summer Camp Benning is much more than a chance for kids to “play Army” for a week. The 100 or so campers who took part in the National Infantry Museum’s day camp this year also learned about leadership, physical fitness and community service. The camp has proven so popular, organizers have added advanced levels for the kids aged 9-14 who want to come back a second, and even third, time. Level III camp this year included a field trip to the home of Jean Liparoto, a former Rosie the Riveter who was married to a three-war Army veteran. The campers did yardwork and simple repairs for the widow, who turned 93 on July 5. Camp Director Alexis Belman recruited museum educational docents -- including Taylor Reynolds, Lawrence Washington, Amber Browning and Noah Felton -- to serve as camp counselors. Oscar Tuff taught map reading and Steve Warwick whipped Civil War Soldiers into shape for the Battle at Burnside’s Bridge. The Stewarts, who frequently wear period dress for events at the museum, demonstrated Revolutionary War era equipment for the kids. Some of the youngsters who’ve completed all three levels and just can’t get enough are returning to act as junior counselors for the last session this summer.

Colonial Dames Continue Support of Summer Camp The Columbus chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America has donated another $3,000 to the National Infantry Foundation. This is the group’s third annual donation. During the museum’s first year of operation the donation was used for general operations. In 2011 and 2012, the organization asked that the donation be used to help fund Summer Camp Benning. The Colonial Dames’ mission is to preserve the country’s heritage in supporting historical buildings such as the Juiette Lowe house in Savannah and other places. They hold an annual essay contest for high school students nationwide about what America means to them, in hopes of passing on important American traditions to the next generation. Terri Whitaker (right), head of Patriotic Services for the Colonial Dames, presents a check to National Infantry Foundation President and COO Ben Williams

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Museum Remembered in Sister’s Estate Ruth Holmes, who lives in Arizona, wanted to leave a portion of her estate to her sister, Jane Koch of Columbus, Georgia. But Mrs. Koch died first. Mrs. Holmes turned to her financial advisor at Columbus’s Merrill Lynch office, Rem Houser, for advice. Houser recommended leaving that money instead to the National Infantry Foundation, in honor of Mrs. Koch and her brother-in-law, deceased Colonel Otto R. Koch, Jr. The couple was known for its longtime commitment to the Army. Mrs. Holmes liked the idea

OCS Class of ‘62 Makes Donation

and immediately instructed her attorney to make the necessary changes in her will. That’s just one illustration of how museum supporters are leveraging their assets to make sure the National Infantry Museum continues to thrive. If you’ve been thinking about making a bequest to the Foundation and becoming a member of our legacy society, the Follow Me Corps, please call our Director of Planned Giving, Randy Sherrer, at 706653-9234.

Coin Sales Pass Halfway Mark

Alumni from the Officer Candidate School Class of 1962 donated $1,000 to the National Infantry Foundation shortly after their reunion last spring. The donation, made in honor of departed classmates, was delivered in person by retired Colonels Thomas Vaughn and Tony Newton following Newton’s grandson’s Fort Benning graduation. “Gifts like this -- given by the very people this museum is meant to honor -- are especially meaningful to us,” said Greg Camp, executive vice president and chief development officer for the Foundation. If your class or organization would like to help the Foundation secure the museum’s future, call our Development Team at 706-653-2604.

The National Infantry Foundation and the United States Mint have sold nearly 190,000 commemorative coins since the program launched in February. The legislation authorizing the Mint to create the 2012 Infantry Soldier Silver Dollar limits its production to 350,000 and restricts sales to this calendar year. If you’re waiting to give a coin to a loved one as a Christmas gift, don’t wait too long. The Mint will quit taking orders sometime during December, and you’ll need to allow some time for shipping. $10 of each coin sold goes to the National Infantry Museum. Please support your Infantryman and your museum and buy one today. Order at www.usmint/gov/catalog. A limited supply is available for purchase the Soldier Store inside the museum.

Gala, Silent Auction (continued from page 1)

during the Taste of Charleston, South Carolina; an Italian villa vacation; an America’s Cup yacht adventure; handcrafted jewelry; and authentic autographed memorabilia by Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, former Presidents and actors. This year, auction donors will have the opportunity to make their donation in honor of someone and to display their story. Corporate donors may provide promotional information for their displays. Donated items can range from $50 to $5,000. Call Lauren Pastwik for more information about the silent auction; she can be reached at 706-685-5813 or by Visit or email at for ideas and inspiration!

Hold your next event at the National Infantry Museum


Batfans Swarm IMAX for Dark Knight Premiere The Patriot Park IMAX Theatre’s first chance to screen a national blockbuster on the day of its release was a big success. The theater sold out for the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises and ticket sales remained strong throughout opening weekend. Die-hard fans of the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman trilogy lined up hours in advance of the 10pm door opening to make sure they got the best seats in the house. Many were dressed in costumes of their favorite superhero; others enjoyed a lively game of trivia with emcee Brian Cook while they waited for the movie to begin. The Fife and Drum sold beer, which moviegoers were allowed to take into the theater. But what fans seemed to like most was seeing the action-packed film on the IMAX screen, the way the director intended for it to be viewed. They raved about their experience in social media, and many of them promised return visits in the coming weeks. IMAX Director Mark Balsinger is hoping this good showing will convince distributors to approve more first-run Hollywood films. He’s hoping to land the much anticipated The Hobbit when it comes out in December.

Above: IMAX Theatre employees pose with the star of the show (known by day as J.D. Burger). Left: Four friends wait for The Dark Knight Rises to begin.

Above: Three of the IMAX Theatre’s biggest fans, (left to right) Rafo Palacios, Spencer Howard and Josh Plock, bloggers for

Movie About Airborne in WWII to Premiere at NIM The Patriot Park IMAX Theatre will have the opportunity to screen Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed in advance of the film’s national premiere August 17. Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed is the sequel to Saints and Soldiers, which won numerous Best Picture awards at film festivals following its 2003 release. The new film is the story of three heroic

soldiers -- members of the 519th Parachute Infantry Battalion -- who spent two weeks on the front lines of World War II without relief. The screening is scheduled for 7 p.m. August 15. A veteran of the 519th will be on hand afterward to talk to filmgoers and pose for pictures. The event is free and open to the public.

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Musical Fireworks Highlight 4th of July Activities Could there be a job in the Army any more fun than playing in the band? It doesn’t look like it! The Maneuver Center of Excellence Jazz Combo, Rock Combo and Concert Band performed for three hours at the National Infantry Museum’s 4th of July celebration, to the delight of visiting soldiers and families alike.

Crews “Top Out” New Hotel In about six months, families who come from all across the country to witness their son’s graduation at Fort Benning will have a new -- and very convenient -- place to stay. A 102-room Hampton Inn is under construction at the north end of the National Infantry Museum’s parking lot. Work crews celebrated the ceremonial “topping out” of the project on July 12 with a free lunch, t-shirts and words of appreciation from project managers and the owner. The $8.4 million hotel will be operated by 4JS Family Partnership, a company that includes Jack Pezold, owner and operator of several other local hotels and restaurants, including the Fife and Drum restaurant in the museum. The project’s general contractor is Batson-Cook, the same company that built the National Infantry Museum. The hotel is expected to open in early February 2013.

The National Infantry Foundation was established in 1998 to honor our nation’s Infantrymen, past, present and future, and to preserve their legacy. The Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Army, is committed to sharing their legacy through the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park. The museum project is sponsored, in part, by the U.S. Department of Defense. The content of this newsletter does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Government and no official endorsement should be inferred.

NIF STAFF Ben Williams President and COO COL Greg Camp Executive Vice President/ Chief Development Officer Mark Balsinger IMAX Director Jane Bayer Assoc Director of Development Vickie Benton Director of Events Cyndy Cerbin Director of Communications Laura Jefferson Accounting Manager Mike McCabe Dir. of Information Technology Lauren Pastwik Director of Sales Randy Sherrer Director of Planned Giving Lora Warren Director of Volunteer Services Lisa Ezzell Office Manager Sonya Bell Admin. Services Manager


1775 Legacy Way Columbus, Georgia 31903 706.653.9234




I didn’t know you could get married at the National Infantry Museum! That was a familiar refrain at a recent venue and vendor show for brides-to-be in southwest Georgia. The National Infantry Museum’s Events Team, led by Vickie Benton of the National Infantry Foundation and Lindsay Wright of It’s Your Day Catering, offered attendees wedding ideas, food samples and even discounts on room rentals. “People just don’t realize that we have weddings and receptions here,” Benton said. “And when they see just how spectacular we can make their event, they’re ready to sign up!” Of course, it’s not just weddings the team arranges. They can help with birthday parties, meetings, reunions, balls, proms and much, much more. The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center Events team members -- left to right: Lindsay Wright, Vickis A Place to Remember for ie Benton, Keisha Wilson, Jennifer Massey and Christie an event you’ll never forget. Cook -- wowed brides-to-be at’s Call 706-653-9234 to learn Wedding Extravanza July 15. more.

Here’s what others are saying about special events at the museum: “What you folks did for us went far beyond our most ambitious expectations and exceeded any experience we have had at any event facility, ever. Keep plugging away and overdelivering--as you did for us--and I am confident that the NIM will become the premier event facility in the Greater Columbus area.” 3rd BDE 1/15th INF Homecoming Festival “I wanted to let you know how pleased our faculty and students were with your facilities as the venue for this year’s prom. The Grand Hall was transformed into an elegant space that I did not recog-

nize from my previous visits to the NIM. We would like to book again for next year before all the other schools in Columbus hear the news about what great event planning you offer. Hardaway High School Prom “The event staff was incredible in helping us feel comfortable with our set up and plans for the day - lots of communication ahead of time. They went out of their way to ensure we had a successful team meeting and museum tour. Our team had a great time...they are still talking about it. The food was amazing! Very delicious;

Presentation was nice; food was hot and plentiful. It is obvious that the people who work or volunteer at the Museum are passionate about the purpose. Synovus Team Meeting Our banquet was a resounding success! The attention to detail and first team support by your staff was most outstanding. The planning and preparation were exceeded by the quality of execution! The positive attitude and the responsiveness of all in support of our evening was nothing short of 200%. Army Sniper Association

The Infantry Heritage Letter  

July/August edition of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center's bi-monthly newsletter