Fort Riley Honors Distinguished Troopers

The Manhattan Military Relations Committee joined the Junction City Military Affairs Council and the AUSA Wednesday for a first-ever combined luncheon as part of Fort Riley’s Victory Week celebrations.

Former Commander of Fort Riley, Lieutenant General (retired) Michael Dodson, provided they keynote address and spoke about a number of issues concerning the military including how future sequestration could impact Fort Riley.

“The strength of the division will go down by less than a thousand, so the vitality here will remain” Dodson said. “But we have to be careful because every budget cut translates at least in the near term into a draw-down of soldiers.”

Dodson explains that in addition to personnel, military budgets Military budgets cover equipment, research and development and procurement , all of which typically come with long-term contracts. Because of that, Dodson said the quickest and most cost-effective way to slash a budget is to reduce the number of soldiers.

Dodson also shared his thoughts regarding the role that former VA Director, Eric Shinseki’s had in the recent scandal exposing the mistreatment of many of our nation’s veterans.

“He has to take responsibility, but to me it’s unfortunate because this man is a man of great character and tried very hard,” said Dodson.

Following Dodson’s address Wednesday, Big Red One leadership recognized several Distinguished Trooper Award winners, Fort Riley’s highest honor for private citizens.

“From out of the Manhattan region, we had some tremendous support from the communities out there,” said Major General Paul Funk, commanding general of Fort Riley.

Two of the Distinguished Troopers represent the Manhattan area  including Neil Horton, owner of Bayer Construction, a company with a long-time relationship with Fort Riley; and Fred Willich, who serves on the AUSA Board of Directors and helps sponsor events that bring soldiers to K-State Football games.

Victory Week celebrations will continue throughout the week and conclude on Friday with a 1st Inf. Div. Victory Run and Victory Retreat ceremony at Division Headquarters.