77th Regional Readiness Command

77th Regional Readiness Command

Casing of the Colors Ceremony

September 7, 2008
Brookhaven National Laboratory

The 77th Regional Readiness Command patch depicts a gold likeness of the Statue of Liberty on a blue background. This patch, originally worn by members of the 77th Infantry Division in both world wars, was chosen to represent the 77th because its personnel came almost entirely from New York City. It readily identifies the wearer as coming from a New York based unit.


It all began for the 77th Division at Camp Upton at Yaphank NY in 1917. They were called the Metropolitan Division as many of the members came from NYC. It was decided that on September 15th, 2008 the 77th Regional Readiness Command would be deactivated. It was decided that the most fitting place to retire the regimental flag would be where it all started, Camp Upton, now the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The pictures on this page were taken during the ceremony  on September 7, 2008.



  Every command, brigade or regiment in the Army has a distinctive flag assigned to that command which normally depicts some unique aspect of that command. This flag is known as the “Colors.” This tradition originated so that soldiers would recognize the flag or “Colors” of each of their regiments so they could follow it into battle. In the case of the 77th Regional Readiness Command, the flag depicts the Statue of Liberty thereby being universally recognized as a New York-based command.

 The “colors” are in the forefront of each unit at military ceremonies and have a place of honor as part of the official military Color Guard. It is the sacred honor of the Command Sergeant Major of the command to protect the colors from harm or disrespect.

 When a unit is deactivated and consigned to history, a “Casing of the Colors” ceremony is performed. At this solemn and formal ceremony the history of the command is read. In front of the formation the Command Sergeant Major removes the “Colors” from the color bearer’s sling. Upon the reading of the official retirement order, the Command Sergeant Major then presents the “Colors” to the Commander and steps backward. The “Colors” are grasped by the Commander and the Command Sergeant Major. The Commander rotates and lowers the “Colors,” allowing the Command Sergeant Major to furl or “Case the Colors” in a protective sheath.

 At this time the cased “Colors” are returned to the color bearer who then marches off the field signaling the formal end of that command. The “Colors” are then retired to the Center of Military History in Washington, DC.



Members of the 77th Regional Readiness Command prepare for the
casing (retirement) of the regimental flag

The fame of the 77th, the “Statue of Liberty” Division, began during World War I and continued in the Pacific during World War II.

The 77th Division, National Army, was organized at Camp Upton, Yaphank, N.Y. on August 25, 1917. It was called the “Metropolitan Division” because its personnel came almost entirely from New York City.

On April 30, 1918 the 77th went ashore in France - they were the first Army division to reach France. The 77th attained its greatest fame in the Meuse­Argonne Offensive.

During this campaign, Soldiers of the “Lost Battalion,” which consisted of elements of the 306th, 3 07th and 308th Infantry Battalions, made their historic stand. The division fought in four campaigns-Baccarat, Oise Aisne, Aisne-Marne, and Meuse-Argonne. At the end of the campaign, the division counted 2,375 men killed or reported missing and 730 wounded. The 77th was deactivated in May 1919 and reactivated for World War II in the spring of 1942.

The 77th trained for more than a year before being deployed to liberate the islands of the South Pacific. Among the 239 Soldiers who died was one civilian, famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle. After the Japanese surrender in August 1945, the division was assigned to the occupation of Hakodate, Hokkaido. On March 15, 1946, the Liberty Division was deactivated in Japan. The 77th never fought in a losing campaign.

During the postwar period, from 1947 to 1965, the 77th Infantry Division was one of six combat divisions in the Army Reserve. The 77th Army Reserve Com­mand (ARCOM) was formed in December 1967 as a part of the reorganization of the command structure of the Army Reserve.

The 77th ARCOM reorganized into the 77th Regional Support Command on October 1, 1995. The term “regional support” represented the command’s mission in peacetime to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in case of natural or man-made disasters.

September 11, 2001 was a turning point in history for the nation and the 77th when terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, targeting and purposely killing thousands of United States citizens. The attack of the World Trade Center resulted in the immediate response of hundreds of 77th Reserve Soldiers.

Over 5,200 Soldiers have been mobilized since 9/11 for Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. They have served throughout the United States, overseas in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kosovo and in the Middle East.

On July 16, 2003, the command again restructured and was renamed the 77th Regional Readiness Command. It is headquartered in Bayside, New York at historic Fort Totten, where the Reserve Command has been since 1968.

Due to the Army Transformation program the 77th Regional Readiness Command is scheduled to discontinue in September 2008.

Author of  Finding the Lost Battalion, Robert Laplander.



Members of the Veteran Corp of Artillery ready for their 21 gun salute

The Veteran Corps of Artillery
State of New York


The Veteran Corps of Artillery, State of New York, was established in 1790, has been in existence for over two hundred years. The Corps consists of members that preserve and reenact the traditions of the United States Artillery. They are one of nine historic military organizations liable for duty under orders of the President in time of war. Today the VCA serves as Honor Guard for the Governor of the State of New York.

 The VCA will fire a 21-gun salute in honor of all the men and women who have ever served in the 77th. The 21 -gun salute is a ceremonial military honor performed when 21 rounds are fired from a battery of artillery pieces. The 21-gun salute is used for the President of the United States as well as visiting foreign Heads of State.

 Each round in a gun salute is fired one at a time. The number of cannon used in a battery depends upon the intervals between each round. For example, a 3-gun battery has 2 of its guns firing each at 5 second intervals between rounds, with 1 gun ready in case of a misfire.





Opening Remarks
COL Richard Hochman

 Formation of Command
Entrance of Official Party


CH (COL) Joseph Orlandi

 Posting of Colors

 National Anthem
319th “Statue of Liberty” Band


Retirement Ceremony


Mr. Michael Holland
Dr. Samuel Aronson

Mr. Robert Laplander
MG William Terpeluk


Unveiling of Plaque
MG William Terpeluk

Mr. Michael Holland


Casing of the Colors Ceremony

 21-Gun Cannon Salute
The Veteran Corps of Artillery
State of New York


Echo Taps
319th “Statue of Liberty” Band

Army Song

319th “Statue of Liberty” Band

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