Pieces of past, slices of cake:Marne Division celebrate 237th Army Birthday
June 22, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - In 1775, even before the establishment of the United States, Congress voted to establish an Army. Granting them $2,000,000 and forming ten companies of riflemen, the Army was thrown instantly into action during the American Revolution. Today, two-hundred and thirty seven years later, the Army has grown to over one million Soldiers serving in more than 150 countries around the world.
To celebrate the history and future of the Army, Soldiers, Family Members, and civilians gathered on Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field for a ceremony and cake cutting, June 14.
"Today we celebrate 237 years of America's Army," said Third Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams. "It is more than a celebration of our institution; it is a celebration of our history, our heritage, and our people, and every man and woman serving in uniform today are helping us write a new chapter in our glorious history. Soldiers aren't in the Army, Soldiers are the Army."
The celebration allowed a chance to reflect not only on the history, but the current status of the Marne Division and its Soldiers.
"[This year] is even more special because every headquarters in the division is currently home," said Third ID Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson. "This is the first time in almost 10 years that all the brigade elements are at home. However, some of our battalions and other elements are overseas and we can never forget our Soldiers in harm's way."
For the official cake cutting, a competition was held between cooks from across Fort Stewart. The entry from Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion took the honors, with decorations referencing all the major conflicts and Fallen Soldiers.
"I designed the cake, and did all the decorations," said Spc. Cachmerie Cruz, a Cayey, Puerto Rico, native with HHC, DHHB. "We don't get to do this kind of thing often. I have been here for three years, and I had never heard of this competition until this year, so winning it felt great. It made me proud."
Assisting in the cake cutting with Maj. Gen. Abrams and Command Sgt. Maj. Watson were the youngest and oldest Soldiers within the division, Pvt. John Gilbert and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ray Noble.
"After being in the Army for almost 38 years, my commitment to my country has never wavered," said Warrant Officer 5 Noble, the senior maintenance technician for the division. To be a part of the Army's birthday is such a great honor and to understand the significance of events like this; to recognize those who have given their all to this country over the past 237 years."
A few civilians from the local area also attended to show their support.
"I am a native of this area, started working here on post in 1967 and retired after 30 plus years," said Charlotte Webb, whose husband served in the military for more than 30 years. "We have seen everything happen around here from the old WWII buildings to what it is now, and it is absolutely fabulous. The great men and women who make up our military here at Fort Stewart are just fantastic, and we are very proud of everybody."
As the ceremony came to a close, the attendees shared memories, laughter and slices of cake. Surrounded by rows of Eastern Red Bud trees, it was hard not to reflect on the sacrifices servicemembers make on a daily basis.
Remembering the Fallen, and supporting those currently serving overseas is all that the senior leaders ask.
"As we sit here today and we celebrate the Army's birthday, I would like to remind everyone about the Soldiers who are deployed, and the Families who wait back here," concluded Command Sgt. Maj. Watson. "There is a Soldier somewhere in the world who is standing guard right now, and every night, protecting us at all times, so we can be free."