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July/August 2017
Michael J. Novosel Capital Chapter 542 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News/USAT Network

The Field Cross Detail & the Annville Parade

© Xande AndererIn early May of this year, Carol Carter, the 1st Air Cavalry Division Field Cross Detail cofounder and AVVA life member, received a call from Becky Gacono, Annville, Pennsylvania’s Memorial Day Parade Coordinator. Gacono asked if the members of the detail would be this year’s Grand Marshals. Carter quickly accepted.

Her husband, Sgt. Larry Carter, the founder of the Field Cross Detail, served in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division, 8th Combat Engineers for eighteen months. He has been focused on remembering and honoring veterans, those currently serving, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The field cross, a marker consisting of an upright rifle attached to a bayonet placed in the ground topped by a helmet and dog tags, was first used in World War I to mark the place where fallen comrades were temporarily buried after a battle, making it easier to retrieve the remains for proper burial at a later date. It was used again in World War II and Korea. Subsequently, field crosses have been used to memorialize fallen servicemen and women.

Larry Carter came up with the idea of placing the items symbolizing a fallen comrade—the rifle, the helmet, dog tags, and boots—one item at a time to show the field cross being assembled. Carol Carter, who, in the beginning, performed the placement of some of the articles, now writes the script and narrates each performance. Over the past twenty-seven years, the Carters have placed the field cross many hundreds of times.

Many members of VVA’s Michael J. Novosel Capital Chapter 542 in Harrisburg have either taken part in the ceremony or attended. This year, seven members participated.

All Field Cross Detail members who took part this year were honored as Grand Marshals in the three-hour procession, said to be the biggest Memorial Day parade in Pennsylvania. Each rode in a classic convertible.

Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News/USAT Network

During the memorial program afterwards, Larry Carter placed the rifle after a short drill, spinning the weapon. Warren Castaneira hung the dog tags on the rifle sight. Dave Donmoyer placed the helmet on the rifle. The flag was laid in a place of honor by Steve Seiders. And a rose was laid upon the flag for all who have suffered the loss of a servicemember by the Carters’ granddaughter, Emily Shah, who has taken part in these ceremonies since she was four years old. I was the bugler who concluded the ceremony with “Taps.”




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