HQDA Department recognizes veterans'
November 18, 2011
Soldiers from the Headquarters, Department of the Army Strategy, Plans and Policy, (G 3/5), used their fall formal to recognize past and present veterans from all services, Nov. 10.
The theme for the event at the Fort Belvoir Officer's club was to reflect on the last decade of an Army at war, honor those who have sacrificed and those who have served, according to Maj. Mandy Rossi, HQDA, G3/5/7, action officer and master of ceremonies for the evening.
After giving a history lesson about his 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment campaign hat, host Maj. Gen. Peter C. Bayer Jr., Director of Army Strategy Plans and Policy, said one reason they were there was to have fun.
"I know I kind of twisted some elbows of the guys in uniform," he said with a smile. "But, I really did that so you would bring your brides out on a date."
Another reason, was to celebrate their lineage and heritage as Soldiers.
"I can't think of a better time to do this than right on top of Veterans Day," Bayer said.
As part of the homage to sacrifice, Rossi explained the meaning of the table at the front of the hall reserved to honor fallen Soldiers.
The round, empty table represents the dining seat of fallen Americans, symbolizing they are still with us in spirit.
"We should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation's call to serve and have paid the ultimate price for freedom," Rossi said.
In addition to the fallen, Bayer honored Wounded Warriors for their sacrifice by inviting them to the formal. He said it was his privilege to introduce, Staff Sgt. Thomas (Billy) Costello, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; his wife Jennifer; and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joe Deslauriers, Explosives Ordnance disposal, 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, Hurlbert Field, Fla., and his wife Lisa. The general also mentioned Sgt. 1st Class John Kelley, HQDA G3/5, administrative noncommissioned officer in charge, as one of their own Wounded Warriors.
"We are deeply honored to serve in uniform with you, and you are the reason I still serve at this point in my life," Bayer said. "It is because great young men like you are willing to do really hard things for our nation. And quite honestly that's tremendously uplifting and powerful.
"So we salute your service, we salute your Family's service and sacrifice and we're really honored to be able to share a meal with you here tonight," Bayer added.
With that, the Strategy, Plans and Policy directorate began its punch-bowl ceremony.
"The history of the United States Army is the history of America -- from the Revolution, through the pioneer days to the modern role as the global leader," Rossi said. "When America or her allies have been threatened, the Army has always responded. This ceremony, then, while designed and dedicated to the American Soldier, is, in fact, equally respondent to the blood and sweat, and hopes and dreams that have built America."
The various libations poured into the punch represented the different campaigns the Army has fought throughout the years.
"We are honored tonight with the presence of three of these Wounded Warriors and their friends and Families," Rossi continued "They are a living example of our Warrior Ethos: I will always place the mission first; I will never accept defeat; I will never quit; I will never leave a fallen comrade.
"These Warriors serve to inspire all of us and honor the legacy of the millions of men and women who have gone before us, serving proudly as U.S. Army Soldiers."
Attendees felt the theme was fitting for the event's timing.
"I think memorializing and honoring our Soldiers, veterans and Wounded Warriors as a theme of the formal is a wonderful idea," said Linda Moore, HQDA G3/5, administrative assistant. "The wounded Soldiers have given so much I am grateful and humbled by their participation.
Recognizing and keeping Soldiers at the front of everything they do is a command theme, according to Col. Doug McCollum, Division Chief, DA Management Operations-SSG.
"It's important to realize we are resourcing for the sons and daughters in combat, so we take our work seriously," he said.
In closing, the general said the goal to have fun and meet people in the directorate was a successful mission.
"The profession we've chosen is hard and dangerous and we are willing do keep doing it," Bayer said. "I am proud to serve amongst you. I remind you that the reason we serve is for the people on assignment throughout the world. This assignment is about people."