By Mr. Mike Bowers (Leonard Wood)June 9, 2016
Fort Leonard Wood has a variety of time-honored and fun activities planned Tuesday to commemorate the U.S. Army's 241st birthday.
Events scheduled include a division-style run, golf tournament, cake cutting, retreat and streamer ceremony and Twilight Tattoo. All events are open to the public and will begin promptly.
The kick-off for the celebration is the start of the symbolic 241-mile birthday run that begins at 5 a.m. Sunday and ends Tuesday with a division-style run.
Service members and civilian runners will run continuous 10-mile loops, both on-and off-post, to complete the initial 238 miles. The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and other Fort Leonard Wood units will take part in the 238-miler, as well as Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and civilian runners.
"The sign-up roster filled up quickly for units and runners wanting to take part in a leg of the 238-mile run," said Command Sgt. Maj. Tyson Goolsby, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major.
"That tells you how excited everybody is to be part of the celebration run, which is the kickoff of Fort Leonard Wood's Army birthday celebration," Goolsby said.
The last group of runners will pass the U.S. Army colors to Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, who will lead the division-style run for the final three miles. That run begins at 5:30 a.m. on Gammon Field. A brief fireworks display will send the runners off with a bang, following the playing of "Reveille."
"The division-style run is our way of celebrating the Army's 241st birthday by exhibiting a core competency of being a Soldier -- fitness," said Sgt. Maj. Mitch Prater, MSCoE G3/5/7 sergeant major. "The run will include all units and services assigned to the post to show we are an Army that is comprised of all components and is supported by and with our Marines, Sailors and Airmen."
It will be off the pavement and onto the greens for those who choose to participate in the 9-hole, shotgun start, golf tournament that begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Piney Valley Golf Course.
While the tournament is ongoing, there will be two events at the golf course to test one's stroke and aim. A free putting contest and corn-hole competition take place at 10:30 a.m. There will be free refreshments available at both events.
Lunch is scheduled after the last golfers are off the course and included in the cost for those participating in the tournament. The meal for those not participating in the tournament will cost $9.50 and includes a hamburger with two sides and a drink in the Sandwedge Eatery.
After fun in the sun, the Army birthday celebration moves to the Lincoln Hall Atrium for the cutting of the birthday cake at 3 p.m.
A retreat and streamer ceremony is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on the MSCoE Plaza. "For every streamer on the Army colors, there is a history," Goolsby said. "The ceremony will be about learning some of the Army's history. Visitors will hear the history of each of the 189 streamers on the Army colors in addition to seeing participating Soldiers dressed in uniforms from past to present."
A Twilight Tattoo, featuring the 399th Army Band, is scheduled at 7 p.m. on the MSCoE Plaza. The event will be held in Lincoln Hall Auditorium, should there be inclement weather. The 399th's marching band and other music performance teams will play tunes ranging from Top 40 to New Orleans-style brass bands to military marches.
The history of Twilight Tattoo began more than 300 years ago, as British troops were summoned from the warmth and hospitality of local pubs by a bugle and drum call to return to the barracks.
The familiar tune told tavern owners "doe den tap toe," or "time to turn off the taps." The troops knew the call to mean "taps off," and minutes later they were back in their tents.
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. Some units, such as the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Twilight Tattoo can trace its own history back to the years before World War II. At that time, on the grounds of Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment held military shows during the winter months. The Military District of Washington revived the traditional show in 1961 to showcase the talents of its ceremonial units.
As Twilight Tattoo grew in popularity, the Army adapted the show, which allows audiences to experience the ceremony and pageantry of the United States Army.
Visitors to the birthday celebration should be aware of the post's access control procedures. All persons age 18 years and older must present a state or federally issued picture identification.
Individuals with a drivers' license from Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington and American Samoa, or those not having a Department-of-Defense-issued-ID card, will need a supplemental form of identification such as a social security card, birth certificate or passport to gain entry onto the installation.
All persons requesting unescorted access will be vetted through the National Crime Information Center prior to being issued an installation pass and should plan for a few extra minutes at the visitor's center, according to Fort Leonard Wood's Directorate of Emergency Services.
Contact the visitor's center for questions about entry documentation at 573.596.0131, ext. 60590. The center is open 24/7.
Both Goolsby and Prater stressed the importance of a community-wide celebration.
"This is a celebration for the entire community and not just for the people in uniform," Goolsby said. "Retirees, Family members, Department of the Army civilians and those from the surrounding communities are welcome to attend."
Prater added, "Community involvement is important, because we coexist in a relationship that is symbiotic. The Army is reliant on the support the local community provides us. The local community relies largely on us as one community that thrives together."