The Fort Myer military community and Military District of Washington officially welcomed Secretary of the Army Mark Esper Friday at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's Conmy Hall.The U.S. Army Arrival Ceremony for Esper was hosted by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley.A number of military elements based from the joint base took part in the ceremony. Members of 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment's (The Old Guard) Delta Company, Hotel Company, Honor Guard Company, Commander-in-Chiefs Guard, plus The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and The U.S. Army Band, "Pershing's Own," took to the Conmy Hall floor to welcome Esper. The Old Guard's Presidential Salute Battery team fired volleys for the occasion at the north end of Summerall Field.Esper has a long history as a Soldier and Army leader, strategist, and war planner. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was a member of the 101st Airborne Division -- also known as the Screamin' Eagles -- during the Persian Gulf War. He has also logged time working at the Pentagon and Capitol Hill and in the private sector as a government relations executive. His military service also included stints in the National Guard and Army Reserve.After some teasing about Esper's NFL allegiance -- the new secretary of the Army is a Pittsburgh Steeler fan -- Milley praised the secretary for his dedication to the Army and knowledge of the Department of Defense and Congress."Mark Esper is no sunshine Soldier," Milley said. "He's a combat veteran, and he's proven himself through the hardship of service for over two decades in all three components of our Army in both peace and war. He not only has the experience of the Army and the deep knowledge of how the Army runs but how things operate in and around the Pentagon."Milley commented that Esper will bring and has brought commitment, compassion, and character to the office of the secretary of the Army."He personally knows the pain and sacrifice of war," Milley said. "He knows that first hand. His compassion flows to risk it all in defense of this great nation. It runs deep, and it runs true in Mark Esper, Most importantly, he's a man with enormous personal integrity. You now have the most important mission you've ever been given in your life."Milley noted that Esper is from the same home town of another Fort Myer Family member, Gen. George C. Marshall. Esper and Marshall hail from Uniontown, Pennsylvania.Esper's goals are to keep the Army ready and modern but provide room for reform and building and sustaining alliances. He told the audience, which included Esper's family-past West Point classmates, of the importance of family and military readiness."I always thought the Army is at its best when it works and fights as one team," the secretary of the Army said. "I hope you get a good sense of my passion, my enthusiasm, and my total commitment to the job ahead. Let me reassure you, your Army is ready to fight and win when the nation calls."Esper is the 23 secretary of the Army. The secretary of the Army is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at jdresbach@dcmilitary.com.