Last week, units from across Fort Leonard Wood recognized 245 years of defending and protecting America, and saluted the generations of Soldiers who have answered the call to serve in the U.S. Army.
“Our Army was born on June 14, 1775, one year before the nation we serve,” said Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, at a cake cutting and retreat ceremony June 12 at MSCoE Plaza. “Since then, our Army has become the best team in the world, made up of Soldiers, civilians and family members standing side-by-side with our sister services and allies. Today, over 180,000 Soldiers are serving worldwide, honoring the call to service, protecting our unalienable rights and safeguarding governance of, by and for the people.”
In a Facebook video with Martin on June 8, Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood, referenced the World War II Battle of Remagen and the subsequent Allied capture of the Ludendorff Bridge, a strategic passing over the Rhine River. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
“This mission allowed Allied forces to break into Nazi Germany and led to the end of the war two months later,” he said. “Our Army remains committed to conquering the hard (tasks) with diligence, patience and skill. We will prevail.”
Martin tied the historical reference to the future of the Army.
“Success could not have been achieved without all of our special skills, including our joint service and civilian teammates who continue to help us plan, equip and train for the huge responsibilities of our all-volunteer force,” she said. “Together, we will continue to explore new opportunities that make us the greatest fighting force on Earth.”
Martin, Breckinridge and the command teams from the U.S. Army Engineer; Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear; and Military Police schools participated in a birthday run at 6 a.m. June 12 at Gammon Field.
The cake-cutting and retreat ceremony took place later the same day. Alongside Martin, the installation’s most senior employee, David Kane, and youngest Soldier, Pvt. Isaiah Luzier, were invited to cut the cake to symbolize the past and future of the Army.
Col. Eric Towns, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, and garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Faith Alexander wished the Army a happy birthday in a video posted to the installation’s Facebook page.
Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman expressed support for the post in a comment.
“The city of Waynesville sends our best birthday wishes for a great year for the U.S. Army,” she wrote. “We love our neighbors.”
The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School celebrated the branch’s anniversary with a video taken inside the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex. CBRN Soldiers in partial HAZMAT gear and surgical masks appreciated Dragon Soldier contributions from the last 75 years.
“From the conflicts of World War II to our response to the global pandemic, the United States Army Chemical Corps remains proud of our past and fit for the future,” one Soldier from the video said.
From atop a confidence tower, Col. Adam Hilburgh, 3rd Chemical Brigade commander, and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge Arzabala recorded their birthday wishes. In the same video, dozens of new trainees inside a physical training bubble shouted in unison, “Happy Birthday, Army!”
Hilburgh led a command team run for the branch’s birthday early in the morning June 10.
The U.S. Army Engineer School and the 1st Engineer Brigade shared a video featuring still images of their training, from water crossings to the Best Sapper Competition helocast event. USAES and brigade leadership spoke in front of the school’s headquarters.
“For 245 years, the Engineer Regiment has been developing leaders and solving our nation’s toughest challenges,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Quander, USAES commandant.
The 1st Engr. Bde. embarked on a birthday run at 6 a.m. June 11 at Gammon Field.
“On behalf of the 1st Engineer Brigade, we’d like to wish the United States Army a happy 245th birthday,” said Col. Kip Korth, brigade commander.
Col. Rob Arnold, 14th Military Police Brigade commander, and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Kleinholz issued their remarks on behalf of the brigade through another Facebook video.
“As we remember our history, we reflect on the important role that drill sergeants and instructors have in developing civilians into well-disciplined Soldiers,” Kleinholz said.
The video included brief statements from trainees in each phase of Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.
“Our mission is to transform civilians into Soldiers and to train and educate military police for the operational Army,” Arnold said. “So, from all the trainees, Soldiers, civilians and leaders of 14th MP Bde., we say, Happy Birthday, Army!”
The brigade also participated in an Army birthday run June 10.
The command teams from the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy detachments and Air Force 368th Training Squadron appeared in a video to wish their fellow service members in the Army a happy birthday, too.
“Since the Battle of Antietam to Gettysburg, to D-Day … to Fallujah,” said Sgt. Maj. Jason Gillespie, Marine Corps Detachment FLW sergeant major, “Soldiers have answered the nation’s call. Your history and bravery glitters. May the Army continue to roll on. Happy Birthday, Soldiers.”