By Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsJune 20, 2018
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (June 20, 2018) - Camp Zama hosted its week-long celebration of the Army's 243rd birthday from June 11 to 15 with a variety of events, including sports activities, ceremonies and the Army Birthday Ball.
Soldiers, Civilians, Family Members, and Local National Employees participated in the festivities to celebrate the Army, which was established June 14, 1775.
This year's theme was "Over There! A Celebration of Army Heroes from WWI to Present Day."
The week kicked off with a volley ball competition between the units followed by other sporting matches that included soccer, softball, basketball and golf.
Staff Sgt. David Troxler, assigned to U.S. Army Medical Department Activities-Japan, said he participated in almost every sports competition.
Troxler said the events bring the community closer to come together.
"It brings alot of comradery," said Troxler.
Troxler said it's astonishing that the Army has been around for 243 years.
"I am proud to be part of that," he said.
Troxler said everything he experiences in the Army changes and molds him to be more a complete person.
The week continued with an Army Birthday BBQ held on June 13 outside of Camp Zama Community Club.
Four Soldiers were inducted into the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, receiving an induction award from Maj. Gen. James Pasquarette, commanding general of U.S. Army Japan. The Club was named after World War II's most decorated Soldier and created to develop, inspire and motivate the best leaders possible in the U.S. Army, according to its website.
The Soldiers inducted include: Staff Sgts. Joel Heredia, U.S. Army Japan Band; Michael Jenkins, 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion; Damien Stowers, 311th Military Intelligence Btn.; and April Thomas, Public Health Activity - Japan.
"Being inducted to the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club represents an elite organization of non-commissioned officers who are dedicated to taking care of Soldiers," said Thomas, who is the incoming president of the USARJ Chapter of the SAMC.
Thomas said this lets people know she is dedicated and motivated to sustain the Army mission, move forward and drive on.
"The army is an outstanding organization ... utilize all the Army programs that are available to you as a Soldier, unit and family.
"I believe that the Army is one of the best organizations in the world to work for. I am very appreciative that I get to wake up and wear the uniform every day," said Thomas.
After the induction ceremony, 10 Soldiers also re-enlisted with the U.S. Army.
"Anytime a Soldier wants to re-enlist and stay in the organization ... that's a great day for the Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Clark, command sergeant major of USARJ.
"We need Soldiers every day to re-enlist to continue to stay and serve our Army in these difficult times we live in," he said.
The Army Birthday Ball, the week's biggest event, was held June 14 at CZCC's Ballroom.
Pfc. Cynarra Strickland, assigned to 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, assisted Pasquarette and Clark during the cake-cutting ceremony.
Strickland said she was nervous when she was chosen from the crowd to cut the cake.
"It was my first time actually being the youngest person to cut the cake for the military ball," said Cynarra.
"I feel honored to do it," she said.
Pasquarette was the keynote speaker for the ball.
He started off his remarks saying this is the one time of year that the Army should turn down the dial on the humility meter to highlight its service.
Pasquarette highlighted the Army as being the oldest U.S. military branch of service and older than the nation by more than a year.
In closing, Pasquarette asked Soldiers to think about them being among the millions of citizens who stepped forward to wear the uniform of the U.S. Army in the last 243 years.
"You are making your own history as a Soldier. Don't take for granted the life you are living now and the difference you are making in our world," said Pasquarette.