ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The Aberdeen Proving Ground community, students and visitors celebrated Armed Forces Day with festivities at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center May 15.

The opening ceremony was hosted by APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory R. McClinton, who welcomed state and local officials, thanking them for their continued support of APG. He also thanked members representing each branch of the military in the audience.

"Regardless of the branch, our service members continue to be the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen," McClinton said. "We are proud to be serving on APG where science and technology come together to ensure the safety and security of our young men and women who readily volunteer to serve in harm's way so that we may rest easy on a blanket of freedom each night. We sometimes take that for granted. "

The event's guest speaker was Maj. Gen. N. Lee S. Price Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications Tactical, PEO C3T, the Army's first female program executive officer.
Price said the purpose of Armed Forces Day is to educate the public on the role of the armed forces and honor those individuals who have served.

"We all are able to have our freedom because of the shoulders that we stand on, the people who went before us," she said.
Price also thanked the Army recruits in the audience who were from local induction stations, and who will most likely be called to serve in a combat zone.

"The members of the armed forces are the foundation of the freedom that we have today," she said.

She added that APG plays a critical role by developing, testing and improving new equipment for Soldiers.

During the program Francis Mayer, from CECOM, received an Exceptional Service Recognition award and Glenn Gillis received a "Heroes on the Homefront" certificate for coordinating the efforts of the APG Professional Associations Network.

The program featured a POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony and an ID tag presentation to new Army recruits, and patriotic and popular music by the Volunteers, Soldier-musicians from the U.S. Army Field Band. In addition, Hannah Brewer, Miss Maryland Teen USA, sang the national anthem, and the Chapel Hill Elementary School choir from Perry Hall sang "America the Beautiful." Installation Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jerry Owens delivered the invocation.

Guests later viewed displays featuring the latest technology from APG organizations.

Gold Star Mother Janice Chance said she felt loved and supported by the APG family.

"It is refreshing to see that scientists and engineers continue to do their best to meet the needs of service men and women," she said. "They continue to make equipment better for our Soldiers. I am inspired by the work they do here."

Hero on the Home Front

Glen Gillis of "The PAN Handler" was the ceremony's Hero on the Home Front. Gillis coordinates efforts of the APG Professional Associations Network that includes 16 different defense related organizations, ensuring that coordination for monthly membership meetings, fund raisers and organizational events don't conflict with one another. Gillis is credited with using PAN to disseminate APG information to industry organizations in a unified and concise manner.

Exceptional Service Recognition

Francis Mayer of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) is one of 16 Lead Army Agents of the Certification Authority (ACA). His division has been recognized by major customers such as Force Battle Command Brigade and Below FBCB2) and Project Manager Radars for excellent Information Assurance support. Mayer has been recognized for outstanding IA support to worldwide systems supporting the Warfighter.

Organization displays

After the opening ceremonies, guests took in the more than 30 indoor-and-outdoor-displays set up by APG and community organizations.

Master Sgts. Anthony Cave and Anita Tunstall staffed the U.S. Air Force Reserve display. Tunstall, a contract specialist with the Army Contracting Activity in APG South (Edgewood) said the display helped get the word out about reserve opportunities.

"A lot of people don't know what we have to offer," she said, "so this was a good way to be seen and support APG at the same time."

Participating organizations included:

U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command
U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Command
U.S Army Public Health Command
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command
U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command/AEC/ATC
U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity
U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center
U.S. Army Garrison, Aberdeen Proving Ground
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense
U.S. Army Research Laboratory
Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense
Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives
Program Executive Office, Command, Control, Communications-Tactical
Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors
Armed Services Blood Program
Army Wellness Center
Directorate of Emergency Services - SRT
Directorate of Public Works -- Environmental
Visual Information Services Center
Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers
Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic
1st Area Medical Laboratory
22D Chemical Battalion (TE)
203rd Military Intelligence Battalion
Maryland National Guard
U.S. Air Force Reserve (recruiting)
U.S. Marine Corps (recruiting)
U.S. Army (recruiting)
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Marine Corps League