By Steven L. Shepard, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsJune 18, 2014
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Inside the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel the Army's 239 years of service and tradition were celebrated by attendees of the 229th Military Intelligence Army Birthday Ball June 7.
The theme for this year's ball was "Lineage, Language, Leadership" and featured Center for International Security and Cooperation Senior Military Fellow Col. Tracy L. Roou as the evening's guest speaker.
The history of the United States Army dates back to June 14, 1775, when Congress allocated $2 million to support forces positioned around New York and Boston. Congress also voted to bring forth a uniform set of rules and regulations to the newly formed Army, and authorized the formation of 10 companies which would later become known as the 1st Continental Regiment.
According to 229th MI Bn. Commander Lt. Col. Frank A. Smith, the Army Birthday Ball is an important annual event that aims to introduce and reinforce Army traditions to local Soldiers who are largely initial entry trainees.
"I hope [Soldiers] take away an appreciation for the traditions of the Army and that they have a safe and enjoyable evening celebrating the birthday with their fellow Soldiers and classmates," Smith said.
This year, Smith and the Army Ball committee decided to incorporate comedic elements to the theatrical skits that for several years have been a centerpiece, along with live music and singing, making up the evening's entertainment program.
For attendees such as Capt. Molly Schaefer, Army reservist and military spouse, the entertainment was a huge success.
"It was fantastic," said Schaefer. "The entertainment was unmatched. We were commenting at our table at the level of talent when it comes to singing, playing instruments and acting. You just don't find that in other Army units. It was phenomenal."
Pfc. Anthony Elliot, D Company, 229th MI Bn., was one of the entertainers. Elliot sang the national anthem in addition to other musical numbers throughout the night and participated in the skits.
"There was a lot of preparation, we had a very professional bunch and put in a lot of hard work," said Elliott.
"My favorite part of the night was [Presidio of Monterey's Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Andrew J. Wynn's] outfit," joked Elliot, who was attending his first Army Ball.
"The whole atmosphere here is awesome," he said. "The chance to get to interact with everyone from different companies and, yes, there are NCOs and officers, but it is more of a casual environment where you can have a conversation and we are all Army and one family. Hearing the stories from the people that have been in for awhile is an awesome experience -- letting us know about those things we haven't done yet, but are going to and paving the way for our future."