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News | June 29, 2016

DLA Land and Maritime celebrates Army birthday

By Craig M. Rader DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

Following a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, the audience shouted their approval with the Army’s universal expression – “hooah!”

Current and former service members from all military branches along with federal civilians and contractors gathered at Defense Supply Center Columbus to celebrate the Army’s 241st birthday.

The event took place inside DSCC’s Building 20 auditorium June 14 and included a guest speaker, a formal cake cutting ceremony, a photo slideshow, and an enthusiastic rendition of the Army Song.

During his welcome remarks, Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Acquisition Executive Milton Lewis noted that despite many modern innovations, the Army’s principles and beliefs remain unchanged.   

“Our soldiers were once untrained farmers, merchants and tradesmen using their own rifles,” Lewis said. “Today, our Army has the very best equipment, training, leadership and medical care available. What has not changed is the fighting spirit and values of the American soldier.”

DLA Land and Maritime shares many of those same institutional values, and many of its associates have prior military experience, including Lewis’ own 29 years of Army service. He reminded the audience that the Army’s history continues to be updated each day.

“The Army has almost 190 thousand soldiers committed in 140 countries. Service members are still fighting for their brothers and sisters in arms,” Lewis said. “And along the way, they’re adding bright chapters to an already illustrious volume of battle honors.”

The event’s invited guest speaker was also no stranger to military service. With more than three and a half decades of service in the Army, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Dennis Laich commanded troops throughout his career across multiple continents.

“There are no former soldiers, there are no ex-soldiers, there are only soldiers,” Laich told the crowd. “Not just on the Army’s birthday, but every day of the year we should be proud of our service. We should be proud of our sacrifices. For 365 days a year – we are soldiers.”

The ceremony included a photo slideshow highlighting DSCC installation personnel who have served or are currently serving in the Army. Many in the audience smiled as they recognized images of coworkers wearing service uniforms, military physical fitness outfits, or camouflage.

During the traditional cake cutting ceremony, Laich joined the oldest soldier in attendance, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Paul Pitzer, along with Sgt. Nicholas Noren, the youngest soldier at the event. Together with Lewis, the four raised a ceremonial sword in unison and sliced the Army birthday cake.

After the cake ceremony, the audience all rose to their feet and sang the Army Song. At the conclusion of the song, loud “hooahs!” echoed throughout the auditorium, a clear show of endorsement by everyone in attendance.