By Sgt. 1st Class Anthony L. TaylorApril 8, 2014
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- The multi-component Army Reserve unit, 85th Support Command, located 25 miles northwest of Chicago, celebrated the Army Reserve's 106th birthday at the unit's headquarters with Mayor Thomas Hayes, local mayor, and former West Point, U.S. Military Academy graduate; on Apr. 5 which was immediately followed by an Army Superior Unit Award presentation there.
The Chicago-based unit hosted the event with senior leaders from active and Army Reserve organizations in attendance to include Col. Don Key and Sgt. Maj. David Becker, both from Army Reserve Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.; Lt. Col. Gyles Gregory, First Army Division-West, Fort Hood, Texas; Sgt. Maj. Arletta Stennis, 3rd Brigade, 75th Training Command, Arlington Heights, Ill. and Col. Kimberly Bodoh and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Goodwin, 2nd Mobilization Support Group, 85th Support Command, Fort Sill, Okla.
" I have served in both the active and reserve status during my 36 plus year Army career. As a soldier, I was accustomed to celebrating the Army's birthday on June 14th of each year, but
I had never celebrated the Army Reserve's birthday," said Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Greene, Command Sergeant Major, 85th Support Command."
Following an invocation, Greene, and Sgt. Angel Olivo, 85th Support Command, recited the Soldier's Creed from opposite ends of the room during the ceremony.
"I am an American Soldier," said Greene.
"I am a Warrior and a member of a team," said Olivo.
They completed reciting the creed alternating line by line.
Brig. Gen. Gracus K. Dunn, gave remarks discussing the history of the Army Reserve, the unit's ninety-seven year history to include the unit's performance in World War I, and II, and elaborated on the capabilities of the Army Reserve.
"The Army Reserve is specifically designed to manage critical specialized capabilities, including capabilities not present anywhere else in the Joint Force. This includes sustainment capabilities needed for major operations, but are too expensive to maintain on active duty when not immediately required," said Dunn. "Since September 11, 2001, over 200,000 Army Reserve soldiers deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Noble Eagle, as well as Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. That is your Army Reserve."
The birthday ceremony closed with a cake cutting conducted by Dunn, Greene, Hayes, and Pfc. Yvette Leon, the command's most junior soldier.
In a continued celebration, the birthday ceremony was immediately followed by an Army Superior Unit Award presentation recognizing the 85th Support Command for earning the meritorious distinction.
The Army Superior Unit Award is a decoration established by the Secretary of the Army which is awarded to an Army unit that displays outstanding meritorious performance in a difficult and challenging mission carried out under extraordinary circumstances.
The 85th Support Command earned the distinction in support of First Army's mission of successfully mobilizing, training, validating, and deploying more than 5,000 units and 260,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and civilians in support of Overseas Contingency Operations worldwide during the period of June 1, 2008 to September 30, 2011.
"The 85th Support Command receiving this honor, along with its sister unit, the 87th Support Command, based in Birmingham, Ala., speaks volumes on our multi-component structure and operational relationship with First Army," said Dunn. "I am very proud to add this streamer to our Colors as we celebrate the Army Reserve's 106th birthday."
Hayes, retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and former member of the 85th Support Command, when it was a Training Division; shared a few words about his Army Reserve career and the value of Soldiers.
"We are especially proud of the many residents of our community that served and sacrificed over the years in defense of our country and our way of life. This day is especially important to me because I spent my own time as an Army Reservist between here and Fort Sheridan, serving my Army Reserve years from 1984 to 2001," said Hayes. "Whether you served just a few years or twenty or more years, I know that the skills and values that you developed and enhanced here in the Army Reserve can only make you more marketable and valuable to your community and employer. Whether technical expertise, leadership, professionalism, dedication to duty, honesty or integrity, I know from experience that your Army Reserve time is valuable to the defense of our country, but (it) will be invaluable to your career and daily lives after you get out of the service."
Greene later commented on what these ceremonies meant to him.
"I saw the value of recognizing the Army Reserve as it is, a valued component of the total Army which deserves its own special recognition. When talking to our Soldiers and seeing the way they acted during the birthday celebration, I could see the value that events like these bring to our organization. Our Soldiers are proud of their Army Reserve affiliation and enjoy
reinforcing their pride and commitment to the Army Reserve," said Greene. "I, for one, expect to
celebrate the Army Reserve's birthday with my soldiers for as long as I continue to serve."
The actual birthday of the Army Reserve is April 23.