Annville, PA - Today, Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, attended the Pennsylvania National Guard’s (PNG) 28th Infantry “Iron” Division (ID) Annual Memorial Service in Boalsburg, Centre County. Carrelli joined several hundred soldiers, veterans, Gold Star families and citizens at the event held to honor the division’s heritage and remember the unit’s soldiers who died in service to their country.
“Today we honor the men and women of the 28th Infantry Division, the oldest division in the United States Army. Since 1879, generations of 28th Division soldiers have fought for America’s freedom and that freedom has come at a tremendous price,” said Carrelli. “Nicknames like ‘Iron Division’ and ‘Bloody Bucket’ were forged in bitter combat across numerous battlefields around the world. This site in Boalsburg is a fitting shrine for the numerous monuments dedicated to 28th Division soldiers who sacrificed all in defense of liberty throughout the world.”
The annual event is held on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum at the 28th Infantry Division Shrine, which was built after the conclusion of WWI in 1919. The memorial service arose from the early reunions of Col. Theodore Boal’s WWI machine gun troop. Boal, from the town’s namesake family, funded and equipped a 90-soldier company that would see action in France alongside other 28th ID units. Local historians consider Boalsburg the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Following the ceremony, Carrelli met with members of the PNG to discuss Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed PA GI Bill, or Military Family Education Program (MFEP). The proposed MFEP would enable members of the PNG to earn college benefits for their spouse and children by re-enlisting for an additional six-year term of service in the PNG. The program would be the first of its kind in the nation if passed by the PA General Assembly.
“The MFEP program would secure the educational future of PNG families, showing them that their personal sacrifice in support of those who serve is appreciated,” said Carrelli. “I am thankful for the support of this important initiative to this point and am hopeful that we will have it signed into law soon.”
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