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National colors returned to 145th

Frederick Panhorst, (center) former 145th Combat Aviation Battalion Headquarters Company commander, returned the national colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Harris, Headquarters, 1-145th Aviation Regiment battalion command sergeant major, and Lt. Col. Marcus Gengler, Headquarters, 1-145th AVN commander, June 9 at The Landing. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Frederick Panhorst, (center) former 145th Combat Aviation Battalion Headquarters Company commander, returned the national colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Harris, Headquarters, 1-145th Aviation Regiment battalion command sergeant major, and Lt. Col. Marcus Gengler, Headquarters, 1-145th AVN commander, June 9 at The Landing. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: June 13, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 13, 2014) -- After 42 years, a part of the unit’s heritage was returned to 1-145th Aviation Regiment. 

The colors that once belonged to the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion in Vietnam has found its way into the careful hands of Soldiers of the unit reborn.

According to battalion history, in 1972 the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion deactivated, and the colors left Vietnam. The unit was reactivated as 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment in 1987 on the installation, but the original colors was not with the unit, unbeknownst to officials.

Frederick Panhorst, the last company commander for 145th Headquarters Company in Vietnam, had managed to get his hands on the colors, and has kept it safe and sound for more than 40 years.

“As we stood down the unit, I had a supply sergeant come to me and say that the property book had been cleared off, but that we still had the national colors and he didn’t know what should be done with it,” he began. “There was so much going on, and people where leaving the country, that I just took responsibility for it.”

Panhorst said that he has not spent too much time thinking about the colors because he had it stored away.

“I had put it away in a cedar chest. When I discovered that I still had it, I knew the flag needed to be returned home,” he continued. “I knew that the battalion had been remobilized into the regiment here at Fort Rucker, so I began calling numbers to see how I could return it home.”

The former commander said that the flag belongs here with the unit, and that he was merely a caretaker for a couple of years.

Panhorst and his Family traveled around the U.S. before settling south of Atlanta for the last few years. In his travels, he has taken the colors with him to Indiana, Fort Riley, Kan., and Fort Sill, Okla.

“This flag is part of their history. Hopefully the colors will serve as a reminder of where the unit has its roots,” he concluded. “If you know your history, you know where you come from. And if you know where you come from, you know where you are going.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Harris, battalion command sergeant major for Headquarters, 1-145th AVN, said it shows great character that Panhorst thought of the unit first and foremost.

“It is a great honor to have the colors returned. For him to think of the unit and want it to be returned so it could find a resting place with its home battalion speaks greatly about him,” said Harris. “When I got the call that he wanted to return the colors, I was very excited. I knew they would be cherished here.

“There is a history of pride and tradition with this unit, and here is a physical memento of our legacy unit to take pride and joy in,” he added.

The colors will be framed and displayed with its history in the 1-145th AVN headquarters building, along with other colors that have been immortalized.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/127959/

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