77th Memorial Grove at Ft. Totten
The 77th Memorial Grove is located overlooking Fort Totten Pond, just west of the Ernie Pyle USAR Center, 200 Duane Road, Fort Totten, Bayside, New York. The main entrance to the 77th Memorial Grove is marked by a partially polished granite stone bearing its name.
The establishment of the 77th Memorial Grove was initially inspired by the desire of MG Richard S. Colt, USAR, Commanding General, 77th Regional Support Command, to erect a monument at Fort Totten in memory of six Reserve Soldiers of the 77th RSC who perished at the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001. Pursuant to the original request by MG Colt, who is a member of our Association, and as accepted by Hon. Thomas E. White, Secretary of the Army, beginning in 2002 our Association has sponsored the Grove as a way to honor those six Soldiers and all of the other Soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division and its successor organizations. Click here to view some documents regarding the original establishment of that monument and Grove.
On 3 November 2002, the partially polished black granite WTC Monument, which had been designed for our Association by our member, Director and Architect-Engineer CPT Douglas A. Wilke (Ret), and purchased by our Association with the assistance of donations by members and others, was dedicated in the center of the Grove to the memory of those six Soldiers of the 77th RSC. Click here to view a copy of the program of the WTC Monument Dedication Ceremony. The monument was unveiled at that ceremony by LTG Thomas J. Plewes (Ret), Former Chief, U.S. Army Reserve; MG Richard S. Colt; and COL Louis H. Sudholz, Jr. (Ret), President of our Association. Click here to view an article and photos about that ceremony, originally published by the 77th RSC in Liberty Torch.
The names of those six Soldiers, who are identified on the front of the monument, facing the Ernie Pyle USAR Center, and surrounding an image of the World Trade Center, are: LTC William Pohlman; CPT Michael Dermot Mullan; CPT Mark P. Whitford; WO1 Ronald P. Bucca; SSG Frederick J. Ill, Jr.; and SGT Shawn Edward Powell. The latter five of these were employed in their civilian capacities by the New York City Fire Department at the time of their deaths. LTC Pohlman was a lawyer and volunteer firefighter. The front of the monument also bears images of the 77th Infantry Division “Liberty Patch” and the crest of the NYFD.
The rear of the monument, facing Fort Totten Pond, bears the seal of the U.S. Army Reserve and the name of our Association.
The 77th Memorial Grove also contains eight trees, of which five currently are identified with nearby plaques as having been dedicated to departed Soldiers. Click here to see additional information about those memorial trees.
WO1 Ronald P. Bucca and SPC Michael L. Gonzalez Memorial Trees
In addition, five memorial benches also have been installed in the circular walkway which surrounds the WTC Monument. Those memorial benches honor the following 77th Soldiers and associated organizations: COL Eileen Margaret Bonner; CW4 Morris Goldman; SSG James D. McNaughton; the Reserve Officers Association -- Department of New York; and The Retired Officers’ Association, Fort Totten. Click here to see additional information about those Soldiers and organizations.
Forming parts of that walkway are numerous memorial paver bricks which are inscribed with the names of individual donors and veterans’ organizations that have contributed to the cost of constructing, enhancing and maintaining the WTC Monument and the 77th Memorial Grove, or relatives or loved ones of those donors.
Each year, usually on the first Sunday in November, our Association holds an Ecumenical Memorial Service in the nearby Fort Totten Post Chapel, specifically remembering Soldiers of the 77th, as well as other veterans who have been long-time friends of our Association, whose passing has come to the attention of the Association during the preceding year. These Memorial Services also honor all other members of the 77th family who have served or currently are serving their country.
|Post Chapel, 200 Totten Avenue, Fort Totten, Bayside, New York|
Immediately following each of these Memorial Services, our Association also holds a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the WTC Monument in the 77th Memorial Grove. An article about the most recent such Memorial Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony, and Photo Albums of those and other such services and ceremonies, can be viewed on this web site under the “News and Events” tab.
In 2012, our Association sponsored an Eagle Scout project for the refurbishment of the 77th Memorial Grove, following several years of storm damage. That project, led by Scout Patrick J. Mott, Troop 87, Rough Riders District, Theodore Roosevelt Council, Boy Scouts of America, and supported by numerous donors, involved the replanting of grass, flowers and shrubs, the resetting of stone steps and some of the memorial bricks, and other repairs to restore the Grove to its original condition.
Although the 77th Memorial Grove normally is inaccessible to the general public because it is located on an active military base, the Association’s Annual Ecumenical Memorial Services and Wreath Laying Ceremonies are open to guests by invitation of our Association. A satellite image of the Grove can be viewed in Google Maps, by searching for “Fort Totten, Queens, NY”, clicking on “Earth”, and then panning close-in to the eastern edge of Fort Totten Pond, near the end of Duane Road.
Inscribed memorial bricks for installation in the walkway at the 77th Memorial Grove may still be purchased at modest cost to support the Grove, and to honor veterans or their relatives or loved ones. Click here to see current information about purchasing memorial bricks.