By Ms. Joyce M. Conant, ARLMay 30, 2013
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense.
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. In Washington D.C., 10,000 troops of all branches of the military, cadets and veterans marched past the President and his party. All across the country, the American people joined together to honor the Armed Forces.
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground supported this honorable tradition at a ceremony held May 15, where service members and their families were honored and displays showcased some of the support provided by APG.
The day began with a veterans and survivor breakfast held at Main Post Chapel. Dr. Laurel Allender, director of ARL's Human Research and Engineering Directorate, attended the breakfast as well as the opening celebration at the recreation center.
Also present at the breakfast was 'Hero on the Home Front' Carol Roddy, who is the outgoing-president of the Gold Star Mothers and mother of Petty Officer 2nd Class David S. Roddy, 32, of Aberdeen, Md., who died Sept 2011 while conducting combat operations in Iraq.
During the opening ceremony, the Chapel Hill fifth grade chorus sang America the Beautiful and Ms Teen Maryland sang the national anthem.
"Armed Forces Day has been an amazing day showing the diversity and strength of the Armed Forces community. That community includes the Gold Star Mothers who have lost a child in combat, veterans who marveled at the growth of APG, local area school children and business and education leaders and the scientists and engineers showcasing today's research and technology that is transforming the Army," said Dr. Allender.
Following the opening ceremony, guests were invited to walk through the exhibits that were showcased inside the recreation center and outside in the parking lot. It gave visitors the opportunity to learn more about what goes on at APG and to meet some of the people supporting the service members.
ARL provided a display from the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate that highlighted advanced armor materials and another from the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate that highlighted ARL's support of current forces with the conduct of rapid technical experiments and assessments of developmental and available counter improvised explosive device technologies used to increase the success rate of follow on testing and fielding.
Steve Taulbee, who manned WMRD's exhibit, said "Armed Forces Day is a great opportunity to show the community how Army research and development is efficiently empowering, unburdening and protecting our Warfighters."
SEDD's display included a Humvee and hand held metal detectors, which generated lots of interest from the guests, especially the young visitors.
"It's an honor to be part of an event that honors our service members, their families, the APG workforce and veterans," said Brendan Patton, SEDD.