Volume 21 | August 13, 2021
Foundation Pioneer BG Charles Elia Honored at Quadrangle Ceremony
On 27 July BG Charles V. L. Elia, pioneer member of the Army Medical Department Foundation, was recognized at a Quadrangle ceremony. The date of 27 July, which is also BG Elia’s 100th Birthday, was chosen for BG Elia to donate his historic veterinary medical kit to the Post as part of an exhibit at the newly renovated Fort Sam Houston Veterinary Hospital and Stables, home of the U.S. Army North Caisson Platoon. What BG Elia did not know was that the ceremony was also to include a surprise in his honor. More on that later. At the well attended ceremony, BG Elia reflected on his Army career as a military Veterinarian arriving to Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle as a new Lieutenant in 1942 and being billeted at the historic Bullis House across the street.
After his remarks, BG (R) John Poppe, Past President of the Uniformed Veterinary Medicine Association, added his congratulations to BG Elia. Next three current Veterinary Corps officers, dressed in period uniforms of the three major conflicts of BG Elia’s career, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam, received the veterinary medical kit from BG Elia and presented it to Mr. Robert Naething, Deputy CG, Army North, who received it on behalf of Fort Sam Houston. Mr. Naething thanked BG Elia for his donation and his remarkable career contributions. He then went on to speak of the importance of the Caisson Platoon and how its mission represents a grateful nation honoring the sacrifices and service of military personnel from the San Antonio area.
At the conclusion of these remarks, the “surprise” was unveiled as a new face was added to the crowd with the arrival of a large Percheron horse from behind the Clock Tower. Led by a member of the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, the proud steed stood calmly at attention as he was introduced to the crowd as “Elia” - named and donated to the Caisson Platoon in honor of BG Elia on his 100th Birthday. 
BG Elia graciously thanked the donors and Post for this singular honor. Prior to this ceremony, all Fort Sam Houston Caisson horses were named for previous Sergeants Major of the Army or Army Medal of Honor winners. Elia was generously purchased by COL (R) James and Carol Carter and donated in conjunction with the Uniformed Veterinary Medicine Association. The UVMA is an association of retired veterinary service personnel who help support the Old Guard Caisson Platoon at Fort Sam Houston.
Following the formal portion of the ceremony BG Elia met Elia, providing the horse named in his honor a few pats and a carrot. The outdoor ceremony was followed by a reception inside the Fort Sam Houston Museum with light refreshments, a presentation of over 100 birthday cards, and cake.
At a private birthday luncheon the previous day, Foundation Chairman Dan Perugini and President Herb Coley announced that many generous admirers and supporters made almost $7000 in donations to the Foundation’s Capital Campaign in honor of BG Elia’s 100th birthday.
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