SMDC uncases new colors
June 18, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Soldiers, civilians and friends of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command celebrated the Army's 238th birthday June 14 and also the uncasing of the command's new colors.
USASMDC/ARSTRAT celebrated the Army's birthday across eight time zones and the international dateline via video teleconference. The command welcomed co-workers and Army family members in Arlington and Fort Eustis, Va.; Omaha, Neb.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Fort Greely, Alaska; Stuttgart, Germany; Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.; Fort Detrick, Md.; Okinawa; and the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
"We are thrilled to be connected by video teleconference with elements of the command around the globe, and to all of you in SMDC/ARSTRAT around the world serving 24/7/365, happy Army birthday," said Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, SMDC commanding general. "We are honored to have all of the veterans, both here and in Colorado Spring, with us as we celebrate the Army's 238th Birthday. We know that in our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard all of us ride on the backs of those who served ahead of us. We will never forget your service to our country.
"For us here today, let us never forget that the Warfighters in the field are who we serve and why we serve," he added.
The ceremony marked the day the command officially adopted the new USASMDC/ARSTRAT colors.
Seven years ago the Army implemented a transformation as outlined in the Army Campaign Plan. The new force structure would better support the modular concept for the new Army. At that time, major Army commands were eliminated and replaced with Army commands, Army service component commands and direct reporting units. In Oct. 2006, as part of this initiative, SMDC was formally designated an ASCC to U.S. Strategic Command.
In response to this transformation, the institute of heraldry subsequently redesigned command colors to reflect the new army structure. As an ASCC, the command's new colors consist of the shoulder sleeve insignia with the command's designator in a scroll on the national flag blue background. At the request of the command, USASMDC/ARSTRAT's full name has been incorporated into a double scroll.
"Today represents the two facets of our command being represented into one representative set of colors," Formica said. "We have taken this day to renew our commitment to our service as Soldiers and civilians. Let us never forget our past and let us always look to the future."
SMDC welcomed veterans from the Floyd E. "Tut" Fann State Veterans Home and the Legacy for Korean War Veterans organization in Huntsville, and the Bruce McCandless State Veterans Home in Colorado. The command thanked them for their service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and let them know they will always be a member of America's armed forces family.
"The way SMDC has supported the vets today is great," said Korean War veteran Glenn Phares. "This is really an eye opener, and we've been really impressed. The people have absolutely treated us with respect and without question they have been really nice to us all.
"This is a spectacular event and we certainly appreciate the chance to come out here today," he added. "Thank you to everyone involved."
The Army birthday is also recognized as Flag Day -- a day to honor the symbol of the nation. During the ceremony, Sgt. Flanity Briones, from the 49th Missile Defense Battalion at Fort Greely, led the command in the Pledge of Allegiance. She was followed by Spc. Jamisson Hiffner, of the 1st Space Brigade in Colorado Springs, who led Soldiers across the command in reciting the Soldier's Creed.
The Army relies on many people, and civilians in the workforce also play significant roles in the Army's success by providing expertise and continuity. To show their support during the ceremony, Kenya McLin, SMDC Technical Center, and Ivens Jean, SMDC Future Warfare Center, recited the Army Civilian Corps Creed.
"It was an honor to be a part of this ceremony," Jean said. "As a civilian team member I feel like an integral part of the Army team. We are here for the Warfighter. For me, it is not about myself or the other civilians, it is all about the Soldiers and supporting them.
"To be able to represent the civilian workforce is an honor," he added. "We support the Soldiers and that is not something that everyone can say. I am humbled to be able to serve those who serve their country. It is truly a blessing."
As is the tradition, Soldiers from other command locations joined SMDC's command sergeant major in cutting the Army Birthday Cake. Command Sgt. Maj. James N. Ross and Royal Lewis, a World War II and Korean War combat veteran, cut the cake at Redstone Arsenal. The following Soldiers also cut the birthday cake at their locations: Col. Greg Bowen and Pfc. Elizabeth Bernat in Colorado Springs; Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jon Siers and Spc. Sara Almeda at Fort Greely; and Lt. Col. Dean Wiley and Staff Sgt. Geraldine Turituri at Kwaj.
"Today was wonderful, I've really enjoyed myself," said Lewis. "This is not my first cake cutting either, I had the honor of cutting the Army Birthday Cake two years ago. I am now a veteran of combat and with cakes.
"To have SMDC show their support is really a great thing," he added. "And to have watched Redstone Arsenal grow over the past 50 years is really tremendous. I am glad to have been a part of today's event, and I am always happy to celebrate the Army birthday."
After the ceremony ended, SMDC's senior enlisted leader spoke of the day's events and what it means to continue the traditions that began on June 14, 1775.
"I thought today was a fitting tribute to our Soldiers, veterans and civilians who have served our nation," said Ross. "Today, we were able to honor some veterans who have served in previous generations, as well as celebrate the future of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command as we cased our former two sets of colors and combined them into one to recognize the way ahead.
"It was great to be able to tie in our outlying units, spread over eight time zones across the globe, and have them 'here' to celebrate with us," he added. "It was really fitting to celebrate their contributions to this great command and have them with us today."