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'Angel of Anzio,' vets honored on Fort Stewart
Angel of Anzio with Vets
Chicago native Ramona McCormick shares a laugh with Col. Charles Sexton, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and WWII veteran George Dexter. McCormick, 94, was the only female World War II veteran recognized at a ceremony Tuesday on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field in honor of the 65th anniversary of the invasion at Anzio.
More than 80 World War II veterans, stooped and lined with age, struggled to stand up straight next to Col. Charles Sexton on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field Tuesday morning.
Sexton, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, had just finished speaking about the group’s accomplishments during the 1944 Battle for Rome.
“These seated warriors wrote a piece of history … that would forever be known by the world,” Sexton said to his soldiers just moments before. “The Anzio vets, and all of our vets, earned us our birth right … and they paid that debt with their blood, with their tears … and they did this for you …”
To the veterans, Sexton said, “the soldiers you see on the field today are your legacy. They are the fruit of your labor.”
Just as Sexton finished speaking and the male veterans took their places on the field, a woman stepped up in line.
She told Sexton she was an Angel who did not want to be forgotten.
Sexton quickly walked back to the podium and the Angel, Ramona McCormick, 94, received a high-five from a fellow veteran.
“We are proud to have one of the Angels of Anzio with us today. The Angels of Anzio were a group of nurses who were awarded some of the first silver stars ever to be issued to the Women’s Army Corps,” he said.
The pass and review marked the 65th anniversary of the Battle for Rome, which has been linked to the 2nd BCT, through the 3rd Division.
“This is where Audie Murphy won the civilian service cross, this is where a number of the 3rd Infantry Division medal of honors came about,” Sexton said. 
Although their battle was overshadowed by the D-Day invasion and fight for Normandy, Sexton told the crowd their patriotism, like McCormick’s service, should never be forgotten.
“In about a 90-day period U.S. forces and British forces lost about 7,000 men, killed in action, they also suffered about 25,000 wounded and were awarded 21 medals of honors.”
McCormick, 94, said she was glad to have been distinguished.
“What people don’t realize is that six of the nurses were killed by enemy fire,” she said, “And, I thought that should be recognized.”
After the ceremony, McCormick took her daughter’s arm and walked toward the eastern red bud trees that line Fort Stewart’s Warriors Walk.
The Anzio Beachhead veteran said she was happy for another opportunity to fellowship with old friends and to have made some new ones.
“There is an old saying that ‘as you are, I once was, and as I am you will be’,” she said. “These soldiers have the same attitude we had, they are there to represent their country and that’s what we did.”
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