By Spc. Lindsey M. BradfordJune 20, 2008
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Fort Lewis Soldiers donned their best uniforms and shined their dress shoes in celebration of the Army's 233rd birthday June 12 at the American Lake Club on North Fort Lewis.
The Army Birthday Ball, which took nearly three months to plan, went off without a hitch as attendees enjoyed a night rich in Army history and camaraderie.
"A lot of hard work went into this, and it turned out to be a tremendous success," said project manager Sgt. 1st Class Gary Threets, the Air Defense Airspace Management cell NCO in charge from 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Threets had 115 tasks that needed to be completed to make the evening successful and even though it was tough, he said that he was very happy at how the Soldiers and civilians sponsoring the event came together.
"Without the Soldiers, the NCOs, officers and civilians this would have never happened ... nothing can happen without a team," Threets said.
As the evening began, guests enjoyed food, drinks and conversation before taking their seats for the formal part of the evening.
After the opening toast and viewing of the Fort Lewis Army Pride video, the I Corps Honor Guard and the NCOs of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club took part in the Army Flag streamer ceremony. While a narrator told the Army's story, Soldiers depicting each era of American Soldier handed off battle streamers that were then clipped to the Army Flag.
"Hearing how Soldiers lived and fought over the past 233 years was moving," said Pfc. Dennis Allport of the 63rd Ordnance Company. "It was interesting to see all the eras of streamers being clipped to (the Army) flag."
Once the Army flag was posted, United States Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody was joined by Fort Lewis' youngest Soldier, Pvt. Steven Tollivar, as they cut the Army birthday cake together before Cody addressed the guests in a speech that delivered a strong message about the Army's efforts in the global war on terrorism and about Fort Lewis' unwavering commitment as it prepares to send more Soldiers down range.
"We have never, in the history of our nation, asked so much of so few for so long, and I know that there is stress on our force and our families ... I know you are the best lead, the best trained, the best equipped force we've ever sent to combat," Cody said.
Private 1st Class Brenda Still, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, I Corps, said the best part of the evening for her was being able to hear Cody's speech, not only because of his message, but because it will be one of the last speeches of his career before he retires in August.
Once the colors were retired, people were ready to let loose, tear up the dance floor and have a good time. Popular '90s songs such as the Electric Slide and the Macarena had everyone rushing to find a spot on the dance floor.
"This all came together so flawlessly. Although I haven't been to every birthday ball Fort Lewis has ever had, I still think it is one of the best, and it will definitely be placed in Fort Lewis history," Threets said.
Spc. Lindsey M. Bradford is assigned to the I Corps Public Affairs Office