Memorial Day event features honored vet

The Gadsden-Etowah County Patriots Association’s annual Memorial Day program at the Ola Lee Mize Patriots Park will feature retired Army Reserve Command Sergeant Major Leon Caffie as speaker.

Patriots Park is adjacent to Noccalula Falls in Gadsden. The event will begin at 10 a.m. on May 27, Memorial Day.

Command Sergeant Major Caffie began his military career in April 1970 at Fort Jackson, S.C.  After a tour in Vietnam and fulfilling his military obligation, he joined the United States Army Reserve in March 1972. After serving his county for 39 years, Command Sergeant Major Caffie retired in January 2010. His last assignment was the Army Reserve Command Sergeant at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, serving with the CAR (Chief of the Army Reserve), Lieutenant General Jack C. Stultz.

Command Sergeant Major Caffie’s military awards and decorations include the Distinguish Service Medal, two Legion of Merit Awards, two Bronze Stars (Vietnam), one Bronze Star (Iraqi Freedom), Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal, Operation Enduring Freedom Medal, National Defense Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Air Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

Command Sergeant Major Caffie has a certification in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., and he graduated with distinction from The FBI National Academy, Quantico, Va., in June 1991.

Retired Command Sergeant Major Tommy Colvin, Rainbow City, served with Command Sergeant Major Caffie for the last nine years of his career.  

“I never served with anyone who cared more for the soldiers under his command,” CSM Colvin said.

“He was my mentor, is my friend, my battle buddy (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and is my brother.”

“It is sad that our country only sets aside one day for those who gave the supreme sacrifice for their government,” said Gadsden-Etowah County Patriots Association Chairman Rick Vaughan.

To honor those who gave their lives, there will be a 21-gun salute, Taps and a placement of a wreath at the ceremony.

The East Gadsden Baptist Church Youth Choir, under the direction of Alan Hudson, will sing the National Anthem. Jacob Hix of the East Gadsden Baptist Youth Choir will perform e a musical salute of “God Bless the USA.”  The program will end with the bagpipe playing of “Amazing Grace” by Wayne Hammond.

The Gadsden-Etowah County Patriots Association is expecting a large crowd to attend the program.  The City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation Department will provide seating for 150- 200 guests. However, to ensure you have seating for the event, bring your own lawn chair.

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