29th ID veterans, commander lay wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Members of the 29th Division Association, based in Frederick, Md., lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery May 13.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Members of the 29th Division Association, based in Frederick, Md., were joined by Maj. Gen. Frank E. Batts, commander of the 29th Infantry Division based at Fort Belvoir, Va., for their annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery May 13.

Batts and veterans of the 29th Infantry Division gathered at the Spates Community Club & Conference Center on Fort Myer, Va., for a luncheon prior to the ceremony.  During the luncheon, attendees were addressed by Batts and four of the association’s World War II veterans. 

After being introduced by Ivan Dooley, national commander of the association, Batts said he was honored to be invited to participate in the occasion and encouraged association members to visit Soldiers of the 29th ID during annual training June 16-30 at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.

Maj. Gen. Frank E. Batts, commander of the 29th Infantry Division, joins members of the 29th Division Association, for their annual wreath laying ceremony May 13 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“The young troops really enjoy meeting veterans of their unit,” said Batts.

Attendees were then treated to introductions and anecdotes of four 29th ID World War II veterans – Bill Doyle, Norman Duncan, Steve Melnikoff, and Don McKee.

After lunch, association members received a private tour from one of the tomb guard. Veterans grilled the young Soldier on everything from the standards set in their Sentinel’s Creed to how many hours a day the tomb guards spend shining their shoes.

The day’s events concluded with the wreath-laying ceremony.  Dooley, the association’s national commander, and Melnikoff, the association’s oldest veteran, had the distinguished honor of laying the blue and gray wreath in a solemn ceremony late in the afternoon.