KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Do you know how the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz celebrates the Army birthday -- by hitting the ground running, that's how!

USAG RP will observe the U.S. Army's 242nd birthday with a 5-kilometer celebration run at Rhine Ordnance Barracks June 14 to exemplify esprit de corps, promote physical fitness, showcase unit colors and enhance resiliency within the entire military community.

Although the garrison celebrates with a commemorative run annually, this year is a little different, because the run is open to all active-duty military members, retirees -- and for the first time -- Department of Defense civilian employees and family members, said Tom Dennis, USAG RP chief of sports and fitness.

"I look forward to this run every year. It's a huge morale boost seeing everyone running and having fun," he said. "This year, we wanted to include the Total Army Family by inviting civilian employees and family members to participate with our Soldiers as well. Although we are inviting family members to take part in the event, pets will not be permitted."

Runners will form up and warm up at 6 a.m. at the start/finish line in front of Bldg. 237 on ROB, and the run will begin at 6:30 a.m.

"There will be a one mile walking route for military members with medical profiles or anyone who would enjoy walking instead of running," said Dennis, a native of Naples, Fla. "Water stations will available along the route for thirsty runners as well as fruit and water at the finish line."

A Directorate of Emergency Services fire truck will also be at the finish line to cool participants off with a refreshing spray of water after completing their run.

This will be his sixth Army birthday run for Capt. Willie Franklin, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and each year's commemorative event evokes a strong sense of pride, he said.

"For 242 years, the U.S. Army's mission has been to fight and win our nation's wars," he said. "We celebrate the Army's birthday with this annual run. Every step we take on this run is a celebration of the fact no matter what, as our song goes, 'the Army keeps rolling along.'"

First Sgt. Japonica Armstrong echoed her commander's sentiment.
"It's important to remember and celebrate our Army's heritage," said Armstrong, who is the acting USAG RP command sergeant major. "This event will help us be mindful of what it really means to be a Soldier and how far we've come in 242 years as the world's greatest Army."