Run caps birthday celebration
June 22, 2012
By Jim Dresbach
The streets and avenues of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall echoed with cadence calls the early morning of June 15 while between 2,400 and 2,500 Soldiers, Family members and civilians marched and double-timed during the Army birthday three-mile run.
Leading the event were Lt. Gen. William J. Troy, director of the Army staff, and Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III as formations from JBM-HH, the Pentagon, The Old Guard and the National Capital Region trekked over the asphalt of the joint base and Arlington National Cemetery.
Before the cadence march began, Chandler took an informal roll call of units participating. Those sounding off from the Summerall Field parking lot included Army G-1, G-4, G-2, G-8, G-3 as well as Old Guard companies and JBM-HH Soldiers and its command, which included Commander Col. Carl R. Coffman, Command Sgt. Maj. Necati Akpinar, Headquarters Bn. Commander Lt. Col. Eric B. Fleming and Headquarters Command Bn. Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Jessup.
"We are going to go on a nice, little run -- not long, not fast," Chandler told the assembled Soldier runners and walkers. "The intent is to finish this esprit de corps run with pride and the discipline of the United States Army.
"We've been celebrating the [237th] birthday [of the Army] this week, and there are a couple of things I want you to know," Chandler continued. "We have about 180,000 Soldiers deployed somewhere around the world or in forward stations in about 150 countries. No other army in the world can do something like that. You do it. You do it each and every day."
Chandler's pep talk evolved into the jumping off for the run. With Troy and Chandler marching out front for the first blocks, the cadence callers switched to a double-time call as the columns passed the Fort Myer Officers Club. All calls ceased as Soldiers entered ANC at the Old Post Chapel gate. After exiting the cemetery, participants jogged the remaining yards on Sheridan Avenue, and Troy was curbside encouraging strong finishes.
The general finished the physical time with words of support and a certified endorsement. "This is a good time to stop and think for a second. No matter what you do in this Army, whether you're an officer, an enlisted Soldier or a non-commissioned officer or a civilian, and no matter what your rank and no matter what component you're in and no matter what unit you are, you're part of the most powerful, best trained, best equipped and best led Army that has ever existed in the history of this planet," Troy told the group after the excursion. "If you have any doubts about the quality of the young men and women we're bringing in to the greatest Army that has ever existed, all you have to do is make an about face and look at The Old Guard Soldiers behind you because they personify all that is the best in an American Soldier."