By Evan Cooper.
FORT DEVENS, MA – Community members from across the U.S. Army Garrison Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (USAG Devens RFTA) gathered to celebrate Nashoba Valley Celebration Day on a summer’s evening Aug. 19, 2023.
The festival celebrates the founding of Fort Devens in 1917. The installation was used as a training location during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The base officially closed in 1996 and became an U.S. Army Reserve training area which currently serves as a base of operations and capabilities for the New England area.
“This festival is a chance for military groups and civilian entities to come together and celebrate the ties between military and civilian organizations,” said Mark Deuger, a retired Special Forces veteran that served on Fort Devens in 1983. “The Special Forces retiree community is strong here on Fort Devens; a lot of us that served in the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) still have an opportunity to gather and reminisce within our Chapter 54 in the Special Forces Association. Others and I were on Fort Devens when 10th SFG(A) moved to Fort Carson in the mid-1990s.”
Fort Devens served as the home of the 10th SFG(A) starting in 1968 and then most of the Group moved to Fort Carson, Colorado between 1994 and 1995. Currently, 10th SFG(A) operates out of Fort Carson housing three battalions including a Group Support Battalion. 1st Battalion continues to operate as a permanently stationed battalion in Germany.
10th SFG(A) still maintains its historical connection to the installation after decades of their departure from the New England area. Some of the current 10th SFG(A) operators attended the festival, providing a link to their heritage at the installation and interacting with community members and retired veterans.
“I decided to stay in the Fort Devens area because it reminds me of my time living in Germany,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Julius Reinitzer, formerly Command Sgt. Maj. of 1st Battalion, 10th SFG(A). “Serving in Special Forces was something different than the regular Army. I would have never stayed in the Army if I was in a regular infantry unit, but because of Special Forces we did something different every day. We could go mountain climbing or scuba diving as often as we wanted.”
The festivities during Nashoba Valley Celebration Day included onstage performances featuring a live band and dancing performances on Rodgers Field. The event also featured vendors, food and fireworks display at the conclusion of the event.
USAG Devens RFTA continues to support training operations for U.S. Army Reserve units within the New England area.
This story by Staff Sgt. Evan Cooper of the 10th Special Forces Group was first published by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service on August 25, 2023. DVIDS content is in the public domain.
Photo: U.S. Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), interact with local community member on Nashoba Valley Celebration Day at U.S. Army Garrison Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (USAG Devens RFTA), Massachusetts, Aug. 19, 2023. The base officially closed in 1996 and became an U.S. Army Reserve training area which currently serves as a base of operations and capabilities for the New England area. (Photo by Spc. Steven Alger, 10th SFG.)