Fort Jackson celebrates 92nd birthday
From left, Brig. Gen. Bradley May, Fort Jackson commanding general, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Cavezza, Fort Jackson drill sergeant of the year, Staff Sgt. Lisa Swanson, Fort Jackson NCO of the year and post Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall cut the birthday cake at a luncheon in celebration of the installation's 92nd birthday Friday at the Officers' Club.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- "Tradition, Training, Transformation" was the theme of the first birthday celebration recognizing Fort Jackson's beginnings 92 years ago.
On July 18, 1917, the installation was established as Camp Jackson.

Capt. Thomas Adkins, an assistant G-5 at Fort Jackson's strategic planning office, said this year's birthday celebration was held July 17 to increase participation and to tie it to the Basic Combat Training graduation.

"Prior to this year, there was not a set date that was recognized as the birthday of Fort Jackson," Adkins said. "The birthday was celebrated in conjunction with the Army Birthday or the Fourth of July, for instance.

"With the implementation of the 'three Ts' - Tradition, Training, Transformation (which are the named initiatives of the installation's new campaign plan) - there was some research conducted ... and it was decided that the one that was best suited (for Fort Jackson's founding date) was when Fort Jackson received its name and was officially a post rather than just a cantonment area," Adkins said.

At Friday's birthday luncheon, Brig. Gen. Bradley May, Fort Jackson commanding general, told other leaders, guests and Soldiers that the day was made possible because of the post's Soldiers.

"We are reminded that the only reason we're able to celebrate 92 years of service to this nation" is because of the sacrifices of Soldiers - especially noncommissioned officers.
May said NCOs are the heart and strength of the fight, especially during this time of war.

"What they are doing for us, keeping together our Army (which is) under tremendous stress ... When you think about the role our noncommissioned officers are playing in this environment, it is truly critical," he said.

May hailed Fort Jackson NCOs 1st Sgt. Peter Lara and Staff Sgt. Sean Samaroo as examples of the sacrifice and valor that make it possible for Fort Jackson to celebrate a nearly century-old history.

Lara, of the 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, was named this month as the Army Times Soldier of the Year. Lara, who fought in a 2005 battle in Mosul, Iraq, was shot multiple times in the head and torso.

He and about 16 fellow Soldiers of the 172nd Stryker Brigade's 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, were each awarded the Purple Heart.
Samaroo, of the 4th Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, fought in the Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan in 2008. Though Samaroo was severely wounded -- bleeding from his head to his legs - he and his squad took three Soldiers to safety.

Samaroo was among 27 Soldiers who were wounded. Nine Soldiers lost their lives in the battle.

Among their numerous awards, Samaroo and Lara have also received the Silver Star - the nation's third highest military decoration.
May added that these and other Soldiers are the greatest gift to Fort Jackson, the local community and the nation.

Page last updated Thu July 23rd, 2009 at 08:07