By Bob Harrison, U.S. Army Forces Command Public AffairsJune 17, 2014
PINEHURST, N.C. (June 14, 2014) -- Soldiers from U.S. Army Forces Command and Fort Bragg, N.C. celebrated the 239th Army Birthday with the U.S. Golf Association here today before the start of the third round of the 2014 U.S. Open, held at the storied Pinehurst No. 2 course.
Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, FORSCOM commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher K. Greca, FORSCOM command sergeant major, joined Thomas J. O'Toole Jr., USGA president, for a 7 a.m. raising of the Nation's colors followed by a brief reception where a 239th Army birthday cake was ceremonially cut.
The 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade provided an honor guard, led by sergeant-of-the-guard Staff Sgt. Jeffrey T. Parker, to present the colors.
The Army Ground Forces Band provided a rope drummer, Spc. Daniel Falter, for the honor guard; a bugler, Spc. Chris Walton, to play Reveille; and a brass quintet, led by Staff Sgt. Brian Adamski, to play 'America the Beautiful,' after the colors were raised.
As the ceremony began, O'Toole made a few remarks and introduced Allyn and Greca.
"Countless Soldiers have stood for our flag," said O'Toole, "…through innumerable battles. Not far from here, hundreds of thousands of Soldiers stand ready and waiting to protect the flag with valor, and perseverance. A select number stand with us (here) today."
O'Toole then introduced Allyn, who thanked the USGA and Pinehurst community for the opportunity to celebrate the Army's birthday and for their valued and continued support for Soldiers and the military.
"Today is the 239th Birthday of the U.S. Army and it's also the birthday of our national colors, otherwise celebrated as Flag Day," said Allyn. "As Mr. O'Toole said so eloquently − both represent the proud character and patriotic nature of this great Nation."
"239 years ago, our Nation's leaders established the Continental Army, beginning a rich heritage of defending our Nation. The Army Birthday commemorates the strength of a Nation that dates back to 1775 -- a strength that resides in our Soldiers, their Families, and the American communities that support America's Army."
"That's why we're here today with the United States Golf Association and our neighbors of Pinehurst, North Carolina."
After the presenting honors to our nation's flag on the course, the distinguished group convened to the Donald Ross Grill sun room in the clubhouse to ceremonially cut the Army's birthday cake.
Pfc. Michael A. Fitzgerald, a member of Fort Bragg Honor Guard, and youngest Soldier present, assisted the most senior Soldiers present, Allyn and Greca, in cutting the birthday cake with a traditional cavalry saber.
USGA President O'Toole summarized the ceremony in his closing remarks.
"As we celebrate the 114th U.S. Open Championship -- truly open for all -- we appreciate your attendance today. Please join me in thanking again the men and women of our U.S. Army, and all who serve our flag with dignity and valor."