The Bayonet

Tuesday, Jun. 10, 2014

316th Cavalry Brigade dedicates headquarters

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The 316th Cavalry Brigade dedicated its headquarters' Building 5118 on Harmony Church June 5 to retired Command Sgt. Maj. Frank C. Plass.

The dedication recognized Plass' 33 years of distinguished service and active support within the U.S. Army for nearly 75 years and represents a permanent link to the history and lineage between the merger of the Armor and Infantry organizations.

Plass enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1938 and retired in July 1971 where his final assignment was with the 197th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) here.

Col. David Davidson, commander of the 316th Cav. Bde., said while a vast majority of building dedications occur after an individual is deceased, being able to dedicate a building to a living individual is significant.

"Anytime we can do a dedication to a living hero is a fantastic day," he said.

Plass is one of 264 recipients awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge with two stars for combat in three separate wars, Davidson said. Other awards include the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal and the National Infantry Association's Order of St. Maurice.

He was the 19th recipient of the Doughboy Award in 1997, which recognized his lifetime service to the Army and Infantry, and was selected as the 29th Infantry Regiment's honorary command sergeant major in 1986.

Following the creation of the 29th Infantry Regiment Association, in 1986, Plass was elected as the group's first president.

He continues to hold both posts to the present day.

Retired Gen. Carter Ham, who commanded the 29th Infantry Regiment from 1999 to 2001, said Plass was a true representative of the bayonet spirit and has continued his active leadership after his retirement from the Army.

"(He) led by example at everything he did," Ham said. "He is a true Infantryman to the core."

Ham recalled a unit run when an insistent 78-year-old Plass, who is now 91 years old, surpassed younger Soldiers and directed those who fell out of the running formation.

"The military is his world," said Barbara Powell, daughter of Plass.

Ham said Plass lived the noncommissioned officers creed long before it became popular to be learned and recited.

Ham said Plass exemplified this specific stanza:

"Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my Soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers and subordinates alike."

Loyalty is a big deal to Plass, Ham said.

Once Plass' commander made a decision, Ham said, no one supported that decision with more energy and vigor than Plass did.

"Throughout the life of a Soldier, we are afforded amazing opportunities to rub shoulders with legends; that with the giants in whose footsteps we walk," Ham said. "For me, (Plass,) fits that motto to a tee."

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