FORT BELVOIR, Virginia –
A standing-room audience at the McNamara Headquarters Complex displayed unabashed pride of service in celebrating the birth of the U.S. Army — still rolling along after 241 years. Defense Logistics Agency director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch hosted the ceremony June 9, which featured re-enactors in period uniforms, a cake-cutting and a performance by the U.S. Army Silent Drill Team.
Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment Color Guard, known as the “Old Guard,” presented the colors while “Pershing’s Own” U.S. Army Band vocalist Master Sgt. Antonio Giuliano performed the national anthem. After noting that he served in the Army early in his career, Air Force chaplain Maj. Corwin Smith delivered the invocation.
Army Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, director, Force Development Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, delivered the keynote address.
Referring to today’s soldiers, Wins said, “They are volunteers — all of them — and our country has placed the security of our nation on their shoulders time and time again. They are men and women who believe in the power of our nation’s ideals and aspirations. They personify the Army ideals of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.”
Wins also took time to thank DLA employees for their support for the military.
“The legacy of supporting our first soldiers is evident today as DLA supports the warfighter throughout the globe, so thank you for all you do and for you being a part of this rich and proud legacy,” he said. “You are the engine that keeps the Army working day in and day out. Your commitment to excellence and steadfast support to our soldiers and their families is vital for their operation and success.”
At the conclusion of the keynote speech, master of ceremonies Army Maj. Jeremiah Hull performed an inspirational reading called “Moments in Time,” which featured nine soldiers dressed in period Army uniforms from the Revolutionary War to the present.
Wins, along with Army Col. Brad Hildabrand and Army Capt. Zach Palko, cut the cake with a ceremonial sword. As is tradition, Hildabrand and Palko were chosen because they were the oldest and youngest soldiers at the ceremony, respectively.
Giuliano then led the audience in singing the Army Song.
The ceremony concluded with the U.S. Army Silent Drill Team performing complex march maneuvers while carrying, spinning and throwing their bayonet-tipped Springfield M1903 rifles.
Throughout the ceremony, the calls of “Hooah!” in the room showed that enthusiasm for the Army is alive and well at McNamara Headquarters Complex. The official Army birthday is June 14, 1775.