By Mrs. Martha Yoshida (Leonard Wood)June 11, 2015
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 11, 2015) -- Members of the Fort Leonard Wood community will have an opportunity to observe 240 years of Army tradition Friday.
To commemorate the official formation of the United States Army, recorded as June 14, 1775, the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood will celebrate the Army's "240 Years of Selfless Service to the Nation" with several events planned Friday on post, including a division-style run, cake-cutting, a streamer ceremony followed by retreat and a traditional "Twilight Tattoo" concert.
"We commemorate our Army's 240-year history to remember our comrades who have given their blood in devotion and sacrifice to preserve and protect all we hold dear," said Sgt. Maj. Richard Prater, MSCoE G3/5/7 sergeant major. "We celebrate the competence, character and commitment of the Soldiers who make up our nation's premier all-volunteer Army. We hold the observance to show we are grateful to enjoy the continued trust and confidence of the American people."
"It is our honor to sustain a tradition of 240 years of enduring commitment to the nation," Prater added.
To kick off Friday's celebration, thousands of Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers, representing today's current force, will participate in a division-style run at 5:30 a.m. on Gammon Field.
"There is nothing that represents Army tradition like the cadence call-and-response of Soldiers running through the cantonment area at sunrise. It's very motivating," according to Prater.
Family members are invited to fall in for the run, and it is recommended to arrive early to find a parking spot and participate in the warm up.
According to Paul Goodspeed, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security operations specialist, safe and secure routes will close at 4:30 a.m., and parking will not be permitted along Constitution Avenue to accommodate the run.
The oldest and youngest Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians will join the MSCoE command team in the ceremonial cutting of the birthday cake at 11:30 a.m. on the steps of Hoge Hall, MSCoE Plaza.
The annual streamer ceremony also takes place at 4:30 p.m. at the MSCoE Plaza. Attendees will see U.S. Army Campaign streamers, beginning with the Revolutionary War, affixed to the Army flag. Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers will complete the streamer ceremony in period uniforms, while the 399th Army Band plays music specific to that era in history.
"The streamer ceremony offers an opportunity for parents to teach their children about the different campaigns that the Army has participated in since the Revolutionary War," Prater said. "This ceremony represents the heart of our history, and is something that we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to see at Fort Leonard Wood."
Immediately following the streamer ceremony, the American flag will be lowered for retreat, signifying the end of the duty day, and providing an opportunity to pay respect to "Old Glory."
The event concludes with the 399th Army Band's "Twilight Tattoo" concert -- a night of music, pageantry and military drill featuring a special appearance by the Waynesville High School Drill Team. This concert is open to the public, and it is recommended to bring a blanket or lawn chair.
The modern-day call is known as "tattoo" and, during basic combat training, the call signals the time to quiet down and hit the bunks.
"There will be a ceremonial portion where you'll hear the original tattoo bugle call," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Richard Chapman, 399th Army Band commander. "The drill team will be a big part of it. We'll play patriotic and other music and celebrate the Army birthday."