SSC-Natick Press ReleaseU.S. Army Soldier Systems
Public Affairs Office
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Date: April 22, 2008
pays tribute to Medal of Honor heroes
Brig. Gen. R. Mark Brown,
commanding general, U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) and
Program Executive Officer Soldier, provides remarks during a
memorialization ceremony for Medal of Honor recipients and
distinguished service members April 19 at the SSC in Natick,
Mass. Brown said that it was a "special day for the Natick
facility and hopefully for Massachusetts as well." (Photo by
Click for Larger Photo
Thomas G. Kelley, Medal of Honor
recipient and Secretary of Veterans' Services for Massachusetts,
offers comments during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Soldier
Systems Center in Natick, Mass., on April 19 where streets and
buildings were renamed after Medal of Honor recipients and
distinguished service members. Kelley said those who have
received the Medal of Honor wear it on behalf of all those who
distinguish themselves in battle. (Photo by Kevin Walunas)|
Click for Larger Photo
On April 19, the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) here held a
memorialization ceremony renaming streets and buildings after 32
Medal of Honor recipients and two distinguished service members (who
served before the medal was in existence) affiliated with the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Brig. Gen. R. Mark Brown, commanding general, SSC, and Program
Executive Officer Soldier, said that it was a “special day for the
Natick facility and hopefully for Massachusetts as well.”
As April 19 is Patriots Day in the state, a day that commemorates
the first battles of the American Revolution, Brown spoke about the
battles of Lexington and Concord and about the Minutemen of those
battles becoming our first Army.
After, Brown said he takes “great pride” in how Massachusetts
continues to play a role in the lives of Soldiers through the SSC.
He mentioned that he was a military brat and spent a lot of time on
various installations. When he arrived at SSC, he noticed something
was different, but couldn’t put his finger on it. He recalled being
on other installations that were named after great leaders, or
buildings after great battles, and then joked about how in “true
engineer fashion,” the buildings at SSC were numbered, 1, 2, 3 and
the streets were lettered, A, B, C.
Brown said SSC is the last active Army installation not only in
Massachusetts, but in all of New England, so he thought it was
fitting that the buildings and streets were renamed for people from
the area who made such significant contributions for their country.
He specifically made mention of the recipients whose families were
in attendance at the ceremony. Two recipients of the Medal of Honor
were also in attendance, Thomas Hudner, and Secretary of Veterans’
Affairs for Massachusetts, Thomas Kelley, and Brown said it was “an
honor and privilege” to have them at the ceremony.
In closing out his comments, Brown mentioned how the more things
change, the more they stay the same. He spoke of how today’s
generation of Soldiers honor the legacy of those who came before
them, and specifically made mention of the Medal of Honor recipients
who posthumously received awards for service in Iraq and
The next speaker was Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger, U.S. Army
Materiel Command, who was representing Gen. Benjamin Griffin.
Mellinger said not one of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen or Marines
gets up thinking he is going to earn an award that day. They are
just doing the great things they do for our country everyday, such
as protecting liberty and freedom, he said.
He continued by saying that if we reflect back on our country’s
history, our service members have long demonstrated gallantry in
hostile environments and we get to honor some today.
He then asked the families of Medal of Honor recipients Joseph
Xavier Grant, Charles MacGillivary, Frederick Murphy and Charles
Turner, to stand and be recognized and then Mellinger gave some
details about what each were honored for.
“The recognition of these valiant Warfighters serve[s] to be a
reminder of the sacrifices and benefits made on our behalf,” and
these men provided, “selfless service to our nation,” Mellinger
Secretary of Veterans’ Services for Massachusetts, and Medal of
Honor recipient, Thomas Kelley spoke next, after he received a
Kelley said it was great to be around Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen,
Marines and Coast Guardsmen.
After saying he was involved a little in the preparation for the
ceremony by helping to track down a few family members, he said he
was greatly pleased by the amount that were able to attend.
Kelley then told a story about MacGillivary that wasn’t in his
citation. “After he was wounded, Germans had surrounded his group
and were shouting in English that if they surrendered, the Germans
would help them and feed them, and some of the group believed them.
MacGillivary said, ‘You can’t believe a word they say. Keep
fighting.’ And they did.”
Those who have received the Medal of Honor, Kelley said, wear it on
behalf of all those who distinguish themselves in battle. Even for
the battles and the men that no one was around to see, he
Kelley said he wanted to publicly thank the men and women serving in
trouble spots around the world today. “We appreciate your service,”
The official party, consisting of Brown, Mellinger, Hudner and
Kelley, then unveiled a lithograph of William Carney, the first
African-American and first Massachusetts recipient of the Medal of
Honor. With the unveiling of the lithograph, all buildings and
streets were dedicated.
Families and guests then got a chance to view the plaques
commemorating the various recipients. Buildings were chosen based on
background of the recipient and the current work being performed.
MacGillivary’s family felt that the former “Research” building, also
known as building three, was the correct choice to honor him.
Brown said the day’s ceremony was important to reestablish Natick
and Massachusetts as important for the service they provide to the