Queens County, New York City

The 77th Infantry Division Reserve Officers Association was instrumental in bringing about the renaming in 2002 of the Clearview Expressway in Queens, New York as the “U.S. Army 77th Infantry Division Expressway”, to honor the heritage of the 77th Infantry Division and its successor commands.  Originally constructed in about 1961-1963, the U.S. Army 77th Infantry Division Expressway (also known as Interstate 295) extends approximately nine miles, from the Throgs Neck Bridge to the Grand Central Parkway in Queens.

Planning for this project was begun in late 2000 by a Board of Directors Committee chaired by COL Robert Braverman, USA (Ret), which also included COL Seymour Kaplan, USA (Ret); LTC Eugene J. Grossman, USA (Ret); LTC John W. Peterkin, USA (Ret); and CW4 Morris Goldman, USA (Ret).  The committee also was assisted by Association Member COL Richard L. Boyle, USA (Ret).

Following initial inquiries to the federal and state Departments of Transportation, the Association’s formal efforts began in 2001 with contacts with county officials in Queens and neighboring Suffolk County, New York.  These led to a formal letter of request in June 2001 from our President, COL Louis H. Sudholz, Jr., USA (Ret), to then NYS Senator Frank Padavan (District 11) for legislative assistance in obtaining the required enactment by the New York State Legislature of an amendment to the New York Highway Law effectuating the change of name.

Former Senator Padavan is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who served as Commanding Officer, 411th Engineer Brigade, and Chief of Staff, 77th Army Reserve Command.  Our Association’s letter of request included detailed historical information about the 77th Infantry Division and successor commands from World War I through the deployment of elements of the 77th Regional Support Command in 1995 to support Operation Joint Endeavor (the United Nations peace keeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina), and subsequent assistance to refugees from Kosovo and relief work in Guatemala.  Click here to view some documents regarding this original request for renaming of the Expressway.

Senator Padavan enlisted the support for this proposal of then NYS Assembly Member Ann-Margaret Carrozza (District 26), and they each introduced identical bills (Senate Bill No. 6268A and Assembly Bill No. A09766A, respectively) on 7 February 2002. The Assembly Bill was passed on 30 May 2002 and delivered to the Senate the same day; on 18 June the substituted Assembly Bill was passed by the Senate.  Click here to view the text and legislative history of these billsThe Act was signed by then Governor George E. Pataki on 30 July 2002, and became Chapter 267, Laws of New York 2002.  Click here to view a copy of that Act.

Early on 18 August 2003, a ceremony was held at the side of the Expressway to dedicate one of the new signs identifying it as the U.S. Army 77th Infantry Division Expressway.  In attendance were Senator Padavan, Assembly Member Carrozza, COL Sudholz and COL Edwin G. Logan, USA (Ret), a Director of our Association, along with several representatives of the New York State Department of Transportation.  During this ceremony, Senator Padavan and Assembly Member Carrozza presented COL Sudholz with a certificate and ceremonial pen commemorating the approval by the Governor of the Act renaming the Expressway.  Click here to view a photo of that certificate and pen.

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Ms. Jennifer Nelson, Director of Public Affairs, NYS Dept. of Transportation; Hon. Ann-Margaret Carrozza, Member, NYS Assembly (District 26); Hon. Frank Padavan, Member, NYS Senate (District 11); COL Louis H. Sudholz, Jr., USA (Ret)

Ms. Jennifer Nelson; Assembly Member Ann-Margaret Carrozza; Senator Frank Padavan; COL Louis H. Sudholz, Jr., USA (Ret)

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Third from left: Mr. Mario Affortunato, Engineer in Charge, NYS Dept. of Transportation; Ms. Lisa Kuhner, Asst. Director of Public Affairs, NYS Dept. of Transportation; Ms. Jennifer Nelson; Assembly Member Ann-Margaret Carrozza; Senator Frank Padavan; COL Louis H. Sudholz, Jr., USA (Ret) 

Senator Frank Padavan; COL Edwin G. Logan, USA (Ret); COL Louis H. Sudholz, Jr., USA (Ret) 

Also on 18 August 2003, the New York Mets held a pre-game ceremony at Shea Stadium, honoring the 77th and its history.  MG Richard S. Colt, who was then Commander, 77th Regional Readiness Command, displayed another of the new “US Army 77th Infantry Div Expwy” road signs, and addressed approximately 25,000 spectators in the stadium.  Afterwards, two Soldiers of the 773rd Transportation Company, which recently had returned from deployment in Iraq, threw ceremonial first pitches as part of “77th Regional Readiness Command Appreciation Day”.  Click here to view copies of an article and photos about that pre-game ceremony, originally published by the 77th RRC in Liberty Torch in October 2003.