JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Twelve members from the longest running military service organization in the United States, the Legion of Valor, toured Joint Base Langley-Eustis, April 21, 2017.
Founded originally as the Medal of Honor Legion in 1890, the Legion of Valor was later chartered by an act of Congress in 1955, adding U.S. Air Force Cross recipients to the organization.
Legion of Valor members are recipients of the nation’s highest recognition for heroism in combat, either receiving the Distinguished Service Cross and Navy Cross to the Congressional Medal of Honor or Air Force Cross, and are honored through the organization.
Each year, members of the Legion of Valor gather for an annual convention to enhance their understanding of current military affairs and provide mentorship from personal accomplishments or failures. This year, Newport News was chosen for the convention, which included a tour of Fort Eustis.
To kick-off the tour, members visited the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to learn about the future of armed conflict, briefed by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, Army Capabilities Integration Center acting director.
Following the briefing, Soldiers were able to speak one-on-one with the Legion of Valor members, making connections through shared memories of their time in the military.
After talking with the decorated veterans, Dyess felt strongly about making ties with the group and learning from the time they spent fighting our country’s wars.
“When you think clearly about the future of armed conflict, you think about threats, enemies, adversaries, our missions, changing technology, history and lessons learned. These guys are walking lessons learned and walking history,” said Dyess. “It’s important to recognize these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that have sacrificed so much for our country. It’s also important to gather their observations and lessons learned because war is a human endeavor and they have seen the worst of it.”
While some of the Legion of Valor members operated weapon simulators during the tour of the Maritime Intermodal Training Department, retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Claude Quick, stayed to view portraits and displays on the walls of the quiet halls. Quick, a Medical Corpsman of 11 years and a Military Police Office for the duration of his time in service, experienced the war in Vietnam and now has a difficult time being around loud noises.
Twenty-five years after retiring from the Army, Quick received the Distinguished Service Cross at the Hall of Honor in Washington, D.C. in front of his friends and patients he treated in Vietnam.
“The Legion of Valor allows us to be normal human beings,” said Quick with tears forming in his eyes. “We know everyone in this group has basically the same story. To be in group where we don’t have to tell our stories and worry about the long recovery afterwards is a comforting feeling.”
After visiting several unit across the installation from Third Port to the 128th Aviation Brigade, the heroes ended their tour at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, surrounding themselves in Army history.
The museum houses an extensive Vietnam War exhibit, including a downed UH-1 Iroquois helicopter and the only surviving Vietnam-era gun trunk. Throughout the museum, the Legion of Valor members were brought back through parts of history that they endured to ensure a future of freedom for generations to come.
Quick added looking at his fellow veterans, “To be in a group now, where every one of these people are heroes–national emblems of our country–is amazing.”
For more information about the Legion of Valor, visit www.legionofvalor.org.