'Military City, U.S.A.,' super-sizes Army birthday
June 14, 2012
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FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (June 14, 2012) -- More than 1,500 military and civilian community members of "Military City, U.S.A.," celebrated the 237th birthday of the United States Army with a run to the Alamo, and a Texas-sized 237-foot cake.
Runners from Fort Sam Houston and the surrounding community joined Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, commanding general, U.S. Army North, and senior commander, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, in a leisurely 2.3-mile run from historic Fort Sam Houston to the Alamo, where a throng of spectators and the giant cake awaited them.
"I can't think of an event more special than the birthday of the U.S. Army," said Caldwell. "This year, Soldiers and family members from Fort Sam along with some great community leaders, are celebrating the 237th birthday of the U.S. Army with this first-ever run to the Alamo."
Celebrating the Army's birthday in San Antonio is special.
"You know, this city is called 'Military City, U.S.A.,' and for good reason, too," said Caldwell. "There's a long, proud military tradition associated with San Antonio."
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro joined the Army on the run.
"I'm excited to join the Army in celebrating 237 years of service to the nation," said Castro. "San Antonio is Military City, U.S.A., and we are very proud of the Army and Fort Sam Houston."
More than 20 Wounded Warriors ran or cycled in the run. Sgt. Delvin Maston, a leg-amputee in the Warrior Transition Battalion, operated a hand-bike in the front of the mass formation.
Maston, a native of Birmingham, Ala., said he was in the run to celebrate his service in the Army, but that wasn't the only reason.
"One, I like group PT (physical training)," said Maston. "And secondly, I was challenged by the battalion commander."
Maston, an automated logistics Soldier in the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., lost his leg while he was home on leave in Birmingham June 22, 2009, when a woman who was driving and texting hit him while he was standing near the edge of the road.
"She kept going when she hit me," Maston said. "She dragged me for about 25 feet." The woman left the scene of the accident and was never caught, Maston said. Though he lost his leg, he said he isn't angry at her.
"I've moved on," Maston said. "But I do want people to stop texting while driving."
He plans to stay in the Army, he said, and hopes to someday return to the 101st Airborne Division.
At the end of the run at the Alamo, the youngest and oldest Soldiers in the crowd, along with the mayor, Caldwell, and Richard Perez, president and C.E.O., Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, cut the Army birthday cake. Pvt. Cortez-Gonzalez, 18, who will begin basic training in a few weeks, and Pfc. Frank Perez, 86, who served in the D-Day invasion and once drove for Gen. George S. Patton, cut the cake.
As part of birthday celebrations, the Army also held a post open house at the historic Quadrangle on Fort Sam Houston, and a formal-dress Army Birthday Ball Jun 15.
The U.S. Army is one year older than the United States, and exactly two years older than the nation's flag for which it shares the June 14 birthday. Many people know June 14 for Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the national flag by the Second Continental Congress June 14, 1777. The Continental Army was formed two years earlier by the Continental Congress June 14, 1775, with George Washington appointed as commander, to fight in the American Revolutionary War.