Soldiers, Marines test-drive 2013 Washington D.C., Auto Show
February 11, 2013
While automotive floor specialists introduced the latest in rear-end safety cameras and explained horsepower and fuel economy, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall servicemembers eyeballed more than 700 late-model offerings at the 2013 Washington D.C. Auto Show.
As some Marines and Soldiers walked the double level, mega-showroom at The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, segments of JBM-HH ceremonial units performed during the early evening of Feb. 5, which was military appreciation day at the show.
Dubbed "the hottest ticket in town," no tickets were needed for servicemembers on the first Tuesday of the 10 day gala -- active duty personnel and veterans were admitted to the convention hall free of charge.
Among the Marines at the show were Col. Ira M. Cheatham, commanding officer Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps Henderson Hall and Sgt. Maj. Craig Cressman, H & S Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps Henderson Hall.
"[This was a] great opportunity for the military to be exposed to the local community," Cressman said. "I would like to see more events [like the auto show] between the military and the community."
Preceeding the late afternoon performances by JBM-HH's Downrange and The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, Assistant Secretary of the Army Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack addressed the troops and supporters. She explained the fruitful partnership between the Army and Detroit car makers.
"The Army is one of the largest, if not the largest, ground fleet vehicle owners in the world," Hammack stated. "We have both tactical and non-tactical vehicles, and our non-tactical vehicles look like the vehicles we have on the floor today. Passenger vehicles and pick-up trucks make up over 60 percent of our non-vehicle fleet.
"So looking at the technologies here today and the innovations on the floor, those all help the U.S. military, and they help our tactical vehicles as well," she continued. "We have partnered with the automotive industry and The Department of Energy to work together to develop advanced technologies, fuels, batteries and other capabilities that help our deployed forces and our forces here at home."
During her five-minute address, Hammack noted that due to budget constraints, the Army would be purchasing fewer vehicles in the future, but she also made mention that another challenge facing the service branch is to employ thousands of servicemembers who will be transitioning to civilian life. The assistant secretary urged automakers to assist new veterans with paychecks and employment.
"As we bring Soldiers home from the war, they are not going to have jobs to fall into here in the military," she said in conclusion. "And so, we're going to have a lot of military personnel who will be looking for jobs. As the automotive industry is one of the large employers, we have many capable Soldiers who are good at meeting goals and taking on missions. We ask the automotive industry to hire a veteran today, thank them for their service and help them return safely."