Adjutant General's Corps Regimental Association

History – Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Activation

Photo above – MG William G. O’Leksy (far right) dedicated the Adjutant General’s Corps Colors and activated the Corps (Regiment) in ceremonies at Fort Benjamin Harrison on 17 June 1987. Photo by Shirley Startzman.

By COL (Ret) Frank C. Foster, Jr.
(Article first written and published in the Summer of 1987)

On 17 June 1987, the 212th Anniversary of the Adjutant General’s Corps, the Adjutant General’s Corps Regiment was activated at the home of the Corps, Fort Benjamin Harrison. This special occasion united key members of the Corps from around the world to celebrate the Regiment as a focal point of pride and energy. The festivities started early 16 June with a 12 event Regimental Athletic day. LTC Arthur Dupay led a team from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, to capture gold honors. Over 870 Regimental Crest medals were awarded for individual excellence. The entire athletic day was managed by MSG Dewey Williams and Noncommissioned Officers of the Adjutant General’s Corps. Competition was keen and enthusiasm high as hundreds of participating AG Soldiers agreed to continue the event as an annual competition. Soldiers participated in swimming, softball, horseshoes, litter carry, combat push ball, sprint relays and 5K and 10K races.

The Club Management School, under MAJ George “Pete” Martin, hosted a “Reunion Buffet” for all Officers and Noncommissioned Officers. Music, an ice carving and a buffet capped by a sailboat full of shrimp were all part of the festivities. BG Ronald Brooks unveiled a plaque dedicating the Regimental Mess for both the Officer and Noncommissioned Officer Clubs at Fort Harrison.

Activation day began early with Regimental workshops organized by MAJ Gary Williams meeting to concentrate on key issues facing the Corps now and in the future. LTC Mike Shane chaired a workshop on Officer issues with the help of MG (Ret) Verne Bowers. LTC Don Traub led a workshop on Enlisted issues; he was assisted by BG Brooks. The third workshop concentrating on Adjutant General’s Corps issues was overseen by MG William O’Leksy and guided by MAJ Dennis Marcel.

After a quick lunch, the crowds gathered for dedication of the Adjutant General School entrance at the south end of Gates-Lord Hall. The guest speaker, BG “Lex” Dilworth, The Adjutant General, presented a beautiful three panel plaque to the Noncommissioned Officers of the Adjutant General’s Corps. The plaque which shows the forging of the Enlisted Adjutant General insignia will become the centerpiece of the new Adjutant General “NCO” Hall of Professional Development. Once BG Dilworth and COL Frank C. Foster, Jr. cut the ribbon, visitors entered the beautifully paneled hall.

Two glass wall cases showed historical AG displays. The first display depicted MG Horatio Gates, the first Adjutant General and “Hero of the Battle of Saratoga.” The second display was dedicated to BG Archibald Campbell, “Warrior Adjutant General” and Assistant, The Adjutant General. A special circular case presented the new Regimental Order of Horatio Gates in both gold and bronze editions. The main wall greeting visitors displays pictures of all The Adjutants General since 1775. This exhibit was donated by BG Dilworth from his former Adjutant General office in the Pentagon. The entrance way was built by SSG Michael Bigos and supervised by the Regimental SGM Eddie Bass. The displays were designed by CPT David Niekerk. The official activation ceremony was held on the parade ground following the dedication. British Army MAJ Robert Dibley acted as narrator, reflecting the fact that Horatio Gates was a British Major before his appointment as our first Adjutant General.

SGM Eddie Bell passes the new Regimental colors to COL Frank Foster, Jr. with BG Robert L. Dillworth and MG William G. O’Leksy on 17 June 1987.

The Officers and Noncommissioned Officers of the Corps stood proud behind the colors of the units that comprise the Adjutant General’s Corps. The Commander of Troops was COL Mary C. Willis, Commander of Troop Brigade. The ceremony featured the unveiling of the Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Flag which depicts the American eagle on a blue background with the words “Adjutant General’s Corps” on a scroll underneath. The Regimental Motto, “Defend and Serve,” is on a scroll held in the beak of the eagle. MG William G. O’Leksy, Director of Military Personnel Management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, was given the honor of officially dedicating the AG Colors and activating the Adjutant General’s Corps Regiment. The ceremony was attended by representatives and colors from the following units:

• Chicago MEPS
• Detroit MEPS
• 14th AG Battalion, Fort Jackson, SC
• 30th AG Battalion, Fort Benning, GA
• 42nd AG Battalion, Fort Dix, NJ
• 43rd AG Battalion, Fort Leonard Wood, MO
• 46th AG Battalion, Fort Knox, KY
• 67th AG Battalion, Fort Bliss, TX
• 95th AG Battalion, Fort Sill, OK
• 120th AG Battalion, Fort Jackson, SC
• 369th AG Battalion, Fort Jackson, SC
• 100th Reception Battalion, Louisville, KY
• 21st Replacement Battalion, Frankfurt, Germany
• 347th Replacement Battalion, Marion, IL
• 1st Personnel and Administration Battalion, Fort Hood, TX
• 18th Personnel and Administration Battalion, Fort Bragg, NC
• 22nd Personnel and Administration Battalion, Frankfurt, Germany
• 38th Personnel and Administration Battalion, Stuttgart, Germany
• 90th Personnel and Administration Battalion, Kaiserslautern, Germany
• 326th Personnel and Administration Battalion, Indianapolis, IN
• 335th Personnel and Administration Battalion, Butler, PA
• 387th Personnel and Administration Battalion, Wichita, KS

Troops stand behind the colors of the units that comprise the Adjutant General’s Corps Regiment.

Part of the activation ceremony included the investiture of the three Honorary Members of the Regiment and their award of the Order of Horatio Gates in Gold. MG (Ret) Verne L. Bowers was invested as the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, CW4 (Ret) Donald E. Hess as Honorary Warrant Officer of the Regiment, and SGM (Ret) Daniel P. Daly as Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment.

The “Grand Finale” was the Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Ball held that evening, under the planning of LTC “Dick” Cregar. Most significant was the award of the Order of Horatio Gates which was bestowed upon many distinguished Officers and Noncommissioned Officers that have made a significant contribution to the good of the Corps.

The Soldier Support Advocate was an early prelude to today’s 1775, the Journal of the Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Association.

Other key events of the evening included a musical tribute to the Regiment written and sung by MAJ Curtis B. Taylor, with assistance by MAJs Robert J. Malkemes and Keith H. Williams of the Adjutant General School Advanced Officer Training Division. The “Salute to the Corps” was written and choreographed by the Team Leaders / Members of that division.

The evening concluded with the Grand Tattoo. The ceremonial Tattoo was commanded by LTC Joseph Greenlee with music provided by the 74th Army Band, who also introduced the Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental March. The Regimental March was written by CPT William A. Foss.

Pictured is a copy of the original AG Corps Regimental March put to music by CPT William A. Foss.

AGCRA Editor’s Note:  Re-publication of AR 870-21, The U.S. Army Regimental System on April 13th, 2017 officially eliminated the term AG Corps Regiment.  The Corps is now a separate Corps and simply called the Adjutant General’s Corps or AG Corps.

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Adjutant General’s Corps History

The proud heritage of the Adjutant General’s Corps dates back to the formation of the American Army when on 16 June 1775, the Continental Congress established the position of Adjutant General on the staff of General George Washington.  On 17 June, Congress selected Horatio Gates, a former officer in the British Army, to become the first Adjutant General of the Army with the commission of Brigadier General.  General Gates made good use of his knowledge of military organization by bringing good order and regularity to the Army by transforming militia units from the 13 colonies into one “American Army.”  General Gates developed the system by which regular strength returns were compiled and reported up through the Army’s chain-of-command.  The first report was completed on 19 July 1775, and established the basis of the “personnel system” used to compile personnel and strength information for the remainder of the war.

Over the course of its long and distinguished history, the Adjutant General’s Corps has become responsible for several critical personnel and administrative support functions that have served to sustain America’s Army in peace and war.  Among them are personnel accounting and strength reporting, casualty management, replacement operations, postal operations, morale, welfare, and recreational support, and a full range of personnel services essential to Soldier morale and the Commander’s ability to effectively plan and conduct operations.

As the Corps has evolved, the Branch has been heavily involved in force modernizations and programs designed to improve the fighting effectiveness of the Army.  As the United States mobilized for World War I, the Adjutant General’s Department pioneered the use of intelligence testing to measure the skills and aptitude of Soldiers coming into the Army.  These tests and associated interview methods became the basis of the modern military personnel system that recruits and assigns Soldiers to the various occupational skills and specialties around which the Army’s modern combined arms teams are built.  On the battlefields of Europe and the South Pacific during World War II, the Adjutant General’s Department employed the first use of computer technology to process wartime strength and casualty information.

Crafted from the lessons of modern war and the emerging personnel requirements of a global U.S. military commitment, the Army Organization Act of 1950 established the Adjutant General’s Corps as a separate branch of service.  With branch status came the obligation to prepare for war in peacetime – training Soldiers in the specialty and developing personnel doctrine and unit structure and organization integral to the support of Army operations around the world.

In executing that mission, the Adjutant General’s Corps has served as a key combat multiplier in support of combat operations in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, and Panama.  Since the end of the Cold War, the Adjutant General’s Corps has deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Storm, and has participated in a number of contingency operations essential to the security and well being of our nation.  Soldiers of the Adjutant General’s Corps were among those supporting peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  As the branch has evolved, Army leaders have come to realize that the personnel system is as vital to the war fighting capability and morale of individual Soldiers and their Families as it is to mission accomplishment.

Today, the Adjutant General’s Corps continues to develop new and increasingly efficient means of providing timely and dependable personnel support to Commanders and the entire Army family.  As we enter into a new millennium, our confidence in the future is buoyed by immense pride in our past.  We remain and will always be prepared to Defend and Serve!

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