BAY RIDGE — On Saturday, Jan., 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fort Hamilton Community Club, the Veteran Corps of Artillery (VCA), under the command of Col. Stephen J. Ryan, will hold their 222nd annual mess dinner.
This dinner is normally held on the Saturday closest to Jan. 8, to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.
The Battle of New Orleans was the final battle of the War of 1812. During this battle, the American forces, under the command of Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the invading British force that was intent on capturing the city of New Orleans.
VCA members volunteered and participated in the Battle of New Orleans, together with leading citizens of New Orleans like Judah Touro, who, even though he was physically incapacitated from fighting, volunteered to carry ammunition to the batteries during the battle.
This year the VCA will honor Col. Roger Donlon, U.S. Army (ret.) 7th Special Forces Group. Col. (then Captain) Donlon was the first recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Vietnam War. In July 1964, his base camp was attacked by a large Viet Cong force, and despite suffering from multiple wounds, he exhibited heroic leadership in distributing weapons and ammunition and administering first aid.
This year, the VCA’s Annual Mess Dinner will be held at Fort Hamilton, currently under the command of Col. Michael J. Gould. The fort was built between 1825 and 1831, to serve as one of New York’s coastal defense forts. Capt. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson served at Fort Hamilton in the 1840s. Capt. Abner Doubleday of baseball fame, served as post commander in 1861. In the 1970s Fort Hamilton was the home of the United States Army Chaplain School, and hundreds of Army and National Guard chaplains were trained there for active duty.
January 18, 2012 - 10:48am