FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- "We talk about our lineage and honors ... battle streamers from Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe, and realize that these men were there.
"These men earned those streamers. It is upon their shoulders we built our Army. They are America\'s greatest generation and they've helped our Soldiers to become America's newest greatest generation."
Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, commander, U.S. Army Central (USARCENT), spoke those words the evening of Nov. 8 during USARCENT's anniversary ball as he honored two World War II veterans, Dalton Mathis and George Kottwitz.
The ball served as the culmination of a weeklong 90th-birthday celebration. Kottwitz and Mathis were special guests.
Kottwitz served as a sergeant and squad leader in the 11th Armored Division, Third United States Army, during the Battle of the Bulge, and Mathis, was a private and machine gunner in Kottwitz's squad. Both gentlemen met with Lovelace and Command Sgt. Major John D. Fourhman, USARCENT command sergeant major, before touring Fort McPherson Nov. 7 with their children and grandchildren.
"When I received the call to come here, I was so excited," Mathis said. "We have a wonderful world. America is the most prosperous nation. I'm proud that I served back then and I'd go to Iraq today if I could," Mathis said, in reference to the pride he feels for his country.
USARCENT's birthday celebration included several sporting events held Nov. 3 through 7 locally, while those Soldiers serving in Kuwait also celebrated with similar events.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Garcia, operations sergeant for USARCENT G-3, called cadence as Soldiers finished the USARCENT birthday run Nov. 4.
As he led the formation across the finish line and shook hands with Lovelace, he felt a sense of pride. "I felt proud and motivated," Garcia said. "Participating in events like this gives us a chance to get together and celebrate the unit. It is also important because USARCENT has a tremendously long history and has done great things. It's something we should honor."
For 1st Lt. Kevin Winfield, communications and electronics officer, USARCENT G-6, the week was an opportunity to participate while also building camaraderie with his section.
Winfield competed in the volleyball, basketball and softball tournaments. Though he said he signed up because sports are important to him and have taught him how to compete both in the classroom and in life, the week also held deeper meaning.
"This week is like celebrating a birthday. Anytime you reach a milestone, it should be celebrated and recognized," Winfield said. "USARCENT is a great organization from which many great officers, NCOs and Soldiers have come.
"This week shows Soldiers here they are a part of history and teaches them about the last 90 years of USARCENT."
Lovelace thanked Soldiers for their participation and camaraderie that was formed throughout the week in the sports tournaments at an awards ceremony held Nov. 6 at the Fort McPherson Post Theater.
He awarded the Commander's Cup to Soldiers from G-6 and G-7, who tied in overall wins for the competition.
"What a great organization this is, and you are a part of it," said. Lt. Gen. (Ret). Steven Arnold, former Third Army commander, who served as the guest speaker at the ball. "Patton's army fought for 281 consecutive days and some were deployed for three years without going home to see their families.
"You have also made great contributions. You have been deployed for 1,713 days since March 2003. You are still making a great contribution in Iraq and also in the Global War on Terror."