By Mr. Wallace McBride (Fort Jackson)June 8, 2017
What's a birthday party without a cake?
During the flurry of events last week marking Fort Jackson's 100th anniversary, Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, the installation commander, paused for a moment at the post golf course to help plunge a ceremonial saber into a birthday cake.
"We're the lucky ones to be able to be right here at Fort Jackson as we commemorate and celebrate the hundred," Johnson told the gathering outside the golf club offices. "Really, it's all about the shoulders that we're standing on. And we're standing on some incredible shoulders."
This was a point that Johnson said he was trying to drive home during the past week's celebration. Fort Jackson was founded in 1917 as Camp Jackson to train Soldiers for World War I. Since then, the post has trained an estimated five million Soldiers and has become the nation's largest basic combat training facility.
"We are the premier training post for the United States Army, bar none," Johnson said.
Because of the urgency of the post's mission, a great many Soldiers who continue to contribute to Fort Jackson's success were unable to attend the cake cutting.
"Right now, I do have a measure of guilt, because where are our Soldiers right now?" Johnson said. "Where are our drill sergeants right now? They are all over this great post, getting
after it ... making sure (Soldiers) are trained and ready when we deliver them to ... their first unit assignment."
Representing Fort Jackson's many Soldiers at the ceremony were Staff Sgt. Christopher Carney, Fort Jackson's Drill Sergeant of the Year, Spc. Kiara Dale, the post's Soldier of the Year, FMWR Information Technology Specialist Brian Bicek, the post's Civilian of the Quarter, and Fort Jackson Command Sergeant Major Lamont Christian. All of them placed a hand on the hilt of the saber as it sliced into the cake during the ceremony.
The event was followed immediately by a tournament that brought out golfers -- many of them retired military -- for a tournament.