77th logoRifles77TH INFANTRY DIVISION
RESERVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION INC

Kaine Memorial Hall at Ft. Totten

The Major General John W. Kaine Memorial Hall is a drill hall located on the first floor of the Ernie Pyle USAR Center, 200 Duane Road, Fort Totten, Bayside, New York. Now used primarily by 77th Sustainment Brigade and other Army Reservists for monthly battle assemblies, ceremonies and meals, it was dedicated to the honor of General Kaine in or about 1989.  The General, a veteran of WWII who was born in 1916 and died in 1995, was the last Commanding General of the 77th Infantry Division (1958-1965), Deputy Chief, Army Reserve (1965-1967), and the first Commanding General of the 77th Army Reserve Command (1967-1972).  He retired in 1972 after completing 37 years of service.  Click here to view a detailed military biography and list of his many decorations and awards, published upon the occasion of his retirement recognition dinner at Terrace on the Park, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York on 10 November 1972.

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At the time when Kaine Hall was first dedicated, it was decorated with a portrait of the General, and a display case containing his personal medals, ribbons and other insignia.  In or about 2006, chair rails with blank paneled fronts and glass-covered shelves along the top were installed by the 77th Regional Readiness Command along the south wall of the room, with the intention of housing this and other additional memorabilia illustrating the proud history of the 77th, and displaying unit crests or other symbols of the organic units of the Division.  After 2006, however, extensive renovations to the Ernie Pyle USAR Center and Kaine Hall resulted in the storage of this memorabilia, the loss of the original portrait and substantial delay in the completion of the project.

In 2017, our Association arranged for the production of fourteen images (24 inches high X 21 inches wide) of 77th unit crests and the Division’s famous Statue of Liberty Patch for the chair rail fronts, and a replacement framed portrait of General Kaine (shown above close-up, before it was installed on the south wall of Kaine Hall).  We also arranged for the relocation to Kaine Hall (from a corridor elsewhere in the building) of an array of fifteen individual bronze plaques honoring the Soldiers of the 77th who were awarded the Medal of Honor during WWI and WWII.

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These and other items, including the stored personal memorabilia of General Kaine, were installed during October 2017 and dedicated at a reception in Kaine Hall on 5 November 2017.  This reception included an observance of the 100th Anniversary of the organization of the 77th Infantry Division at Camp Upton, New York in 1917, and immediately followed our 41st Annual Ecumenical Memorial Service in the Post Chapel, and 11th Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony in the 77th Memorial Grove, at Fort Totten.

The following photographs depict the individual unit crests, Kaine memorabilia, Medal of Honor plaques and other items currently on display in Kaine Hall.

1592  1593
1594  1595
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1598 1601
1603 1604
1605 1606
1607 Kaine1689
1690 MOH Plaques
  Click on image above to enlarge

Included on the chair rail display shelves are small signs containing heraldic descriptions and other information about those individual unit crests and the Statue of Liberty Patch.  Click here to view the texts of those descriptive signs.

While searching for images of 77th organic unit crests for this exhibit, we found one additional image, of the “77th Quartermaster Company”, which was not installed in Kaine Hall in part because of our inability to authenticate it, but which is reproduced below:

77thQuartermasterCo

It does not resemble any other images which we did find of the “Quartermaster Corps” (and the earlier “Quartermaster Department”) going back to 1895.  However, based upon the similarity of two of the symbols in the above version, we suspect that its theme, as in most of the other images we found, was the unit in World War I.  It is possible that the wavy blue “bendlet” represents one of the French rivers, and that the tree represents the Argonne Forest, as those symbols were used in several of the other 77th unit crests.  However, the blue “cross” with two horizontal lines does not appear in any of the other items.  Nonetheless, something like it has been historically associated (since the Middle Ages) with Lorraine (in eastern France) and Ypres (in Belgium), although usually rendered in black or red, respectively, in those places.  In France, it was known as the Croix de Lorraine.  If any visitor to this web site is aware of the history of this “77th Quartermaster Company” unit crest, please contact us at: 77thinfdivroa@gmail.com .