By SGT. KANDI HUGGINS
3rd IBCT PAO
Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, welcomed home a piece of their history during a ceremony held at the Patton Museum, Jan. 17, when they unveiled the legendary Ramrod.
The Ramrod, from which the regiment’s nickname is derived, dates back to 1843 when Lt. Col. Bennett Riley, commander of the 2nd Inf. Regt. through the Seminole and Mexican-American Wars, presented the regiment with a drum major’s baton made of wood taken from the Florida Everglades, and decorated with a silver knob and the regimental motto, Noli Me Tangere, Latin for “Do not touch me.”
“Why is it important that we look back and understand our heritage? Why does it matter that we brought the Ramrod to Fort Knox?” asked Lt. Col. Eric Lopez, 2nd Inf. Regt. commander. “All these things are important to us today because we must understand that we have a legacy of excellence to uphold. We must understand our past because it should challenge us every day to achieve excellence. We just watched the video, and we saw that in every conflict from the American Revolution through our last deployment to Afghanistan, the Ramrod battalion and the 2nd Inf. Regt. has set the standard for excellence, valor, dedication and discipline. We have a legacy of excellence to uphold.”
It was in 1847, during the Mexican-American War, when the Ramrod became famous. During the assault on the fortress at Chapultepec, Mexico, stories speak of Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Green, who, charging into the lines, broke the baton over an enemy’s head.
The Ramrod went with the regiment no matter where it deployed, during war or peace, to the Philippines and Cuba twice, Germany, Mexico, Vietnam and around the United States from one coast to the other.
“Understanding and commemorating our heritage is valuable to us today for a second reason,” said Lopez. “It reminds us that we are on a team and in a Family that has bonds even greater than blood relation. I tell the battalion all the time that we are a family, and we take care of each other. We are part of something bigger than ourselves.”
After unveiling the Ramrod, the regiment appointed retired Brig. Gen. William Mullen and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bill Omstead as the Honorary Colonel and Command Sgt. Maj. respectively of the 2nd Inf. Regt.
Mullen, who began his association with the regiment in 1966 as commander of Company C, said the Ramrod and its colors, each more than 160 years old, are unique trademarks of the 2nd Inf. Regt.
“Colonel Lopez said they are visible links between today’s Soldiers and the thousands of Soldiers who performed their duties… and fought in Mexico, Gettysburg, Germany, Vietnam, Iraq all over Afghanistan and other places I can’t pronounce,” said Mullen. “I’m happy the Ramrod is once again in the hands of the Soldiers from 2nd Inf. Regt. It does not belong in a museum collection of military artifacts. It belongs to the men who are making tomorrow’s history but they are doing it today.”