First Army units celebrate Army Reserve birthday
May 10, 2013
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - U.S. Army Reserve units celebrated across the world as the U.S. Army Reserve turned 105 years old April 23.
The 85th Support Command, based 25 miles northwest of Chicago, in coordination with First Army Division West, held a birthday celebration across their entire formation throughout the Midwestern United States.
Brig. Gen. Gracus K. Dunn, First Army Division West deputy commanding general and 85th Support Command's commanding general, initiated an effort to celebrate the Army Reserve's birthday by all eight of the division's active component brigades. Observances took place at Fort McCoy, Wis., Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., and at the 85th Support Command headquarters in Arlington Heights, Ill.
Army Reserve ambassadors attended the celebrations and shared their contributions and support to Army Reserve units and local communities.
"This is the first time (the Army Reserve birthday) has been conducted in this nature at the active component installations," said Dunn.
Dunn said he looked at this event as a way to further engage with the active Army elements to share insight and experience from all perspectives. Although this was an Army Reserve celebration, all of the First Army Division West brigade commanders were involved in the planning and execution of these celebrations, he said.
"This celebration was not just about the Army Reserve but that we are one Army," Dunn said.
Fort Hunter Liggett's celebration featured Army Reserve Ambassador and retired Army Reserve Col. Dan Furtado, He spoke about his experiences in the Army Reserve and toured vehicles and training equipment on site for the 91st Training Division's Warrior Exercise. Other attendees included Garrison Commander Col. Donna Williams Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Newman. The outdoor event, with an audience of about 150 soldiers, was hosted by Col. John "Jack" Marr, commander of the 189th Infantry Brigade, which was at Fort Hunter Liggett conducting the WAREX.
The 200 attendees at Fort Hood, Texas, included Maj. Gen. Warren Phipps, commanding general of First Army Division West, Brig. Gen. Dunn, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Orosz.
Also in attendance were Col. Timothy Bush, commander of the 120th Infantry Brigade, Col. Richard Creed, commander of the 479th Field Artillery Brigade, and Col. Kevin Vizzarri, commander of the 166th Aviation Brigade.
Retired Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Henry J. Ostermann, Army Reserve ambassador for Texas, celebrated in the birthday event and cake cutting with the oldest and youngest soldiers.
Fort Bliss area festivities were held in El Paso, Texas, and at McGregor Range Base Camp, N.M. During their weekend battle assembly formation, 2206th MSB, and 2208th MSB conducted an intimate unit celebration hosted by Lt. Col. Stephen Krebs, 2206th MSB Battalion commander. The Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment executive officer, Lt. Col. Todd Kurtzhals, hosted the ceremony at McGregor Range with the support of the command team from the 2207th MSB. Attendine were Col. Eric Schact, commander of the 5th Armored Brigade, DoMaD Director and Col. John Dorney.
Retired Army Reserve Col. Robert O. Cortez, Army Reserve ambassador for New Mexico, addressed the crowd of Army Reserve, active duty, and National Guard soldiers.
"Thank you for the invite to be down here with the troops. Happy birthday Army Reserve, and thank you soldiers for all that you do to keep the Army strong," said Cortez.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord celebrated at McChord Movie Theater with Col. John Velliquette, commander of the 1st Joint Mobilization Brigade, hosting. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, I Corps deputy commanding general, attended the ceremony along with Col. William Steinkircherner, I Corps Army Reserve liaison officer. Retired Brig. Gen. Stan Flemming, Army Reserve ambassador for Washington, took part in the ceremony and shared stories of his career in the Army.
Fort McCoy celebrated with an audience of 50 soldiers and civilians. The event was hosted by Col. Mark Nozaki, 85th Support command deputy staff judge advocate. Attendees included Col. Steven Nott, Fort McCoy Garrison commander, and Col. Eric Angeli, commander of the 181th IB. Retired Col. Max Oleson, Army Reserve ambassador for Wisconsin, recalled in his speech to the audience of the heroism of a Wisconsin soldier, Staff Sgt. Richard Billmeyer of the 469th Engineer Company, who lost three limbs and yet never regretted his service.
The birthday celebration at the 85th Support Command's headquarters was hosted by Col. Lynn Barden, 85th SC comptroller. Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder, retired Maj. Gen. John Scully, now a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for the state of Illinois, retired Col. William Hawes, Army Reserve ambassador for Illinois, and Col. John Ellis, commander of the Defense Contract Management Agency Central Region. Also in the crowd were members of the Chicago Recruiting Battalion, three military police units belonging to the 200th MP Command from Fort Meade, Md., and the 85th Army Band.
After a recitation of the Army Reserve's lineage, a member of each unit shared their unit's lineage, all of which dated back to at least World War II.
Mulder, who has shown continued support to the 85th SC in her time as mayor, expressed her appreciation.
"I think those who are aware of life in other places on this earth appreciate real freedom, and we would not have that if we would not have the dignified, professional Army and Army Reserve which are key to the strength of this Nation," she said. "So, thank you from an ordinary citizen."
Scully shared his story as soldier serving during the Vietnam War and reflected on how far the Army Reserve has come since then, and especially in just the last 10 years at war.
"When you celebrate your birthday, it is important to let your congressman know and let your senator know how important the Army Reserve is to the Army," he said.
Hawes thanked all the soldiers for their service and reiterated other messages.
"Moving forward, the Army Reserve needs continued support from elected officials and the public to remain the great return on investment for America's Total Force and the American taxpayer that it currently is. At a cost of only 6 percent of the Army's budget, the Army Reserve comprises almost 20 percent of the total Army," said Hawes.
Ellis, an active duty Army commander, reinforced the importance of the Army Reserve and its soldiers.
"There's a phrase that rubs me the wrong way - 'just a reservist.' Being married to an Army Reserve soldier, I've learned about the sacrifice that an (Army Reserve soldier) makes. You do a lot that you are unrecognized for," he said. "Army Reserve families suffer in a way different from active duty soldiers because some hometowns do not have that military infrastructure to fall back on when soldiers have to leave. That is changing, but I applaud these soldiers."
And Ellis concluded with a quote from Winston Churchill, former prime minister of United Kingdom: "He referred to Reserve soldiers as twice the citizen. He was complimenting them on their successes in World War II. Never more than today is that true. You're twice the citizen which receives twice the hooah!"