By Henry VasquezSeptember 11, 2018
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz., - In today's world of technology and hybrid cyber-communications few military organizations can trace-back their history to more than a few decades. This month the U.S. Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command NETCOM celebrated its Centennial Anniversary at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. NETCOM is one of U.S. Army's military's units that can trace its proud heritage to 14 February, 1918 when it was constituted as the 9th Signal Company in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Maj. Gen. John W. Baker, commanding general of NETCOM, led the celebration with an early morning fun-run at Fort Huachuca followed by a centennial ceremony at the NETCOM Headquarters culminating in the awards recognition observance. The ceremony was a civic event with several distinguished guests from the City of Sierra Vista attending to include the Mayor, the Honorable Rick Mueller.
"It's really a community celebration; the community being Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, southern Arizona and obviously the NETCOM," said Baker.
During the ceremony Mayor Rick Mueller issued a proclamation declaring 7 September, 2018 as "U.S. Army NETCOM Centennial Celebration Day," in honor of the unit's long presence at Fort Huachuca, beginning in 1997. In addition, Mayor Mueller had this say, "So this is a very historic day for the unit's history, and I think it's appropriate to recognized that it's a day to celebrate a unit with a long positive impact on the Army and our nation."
Mayor Mueller then presented his written proclamation to the NETCOM Command Sergeant Major, Jennifer L. Taylor. "Since the sergeant major is the keeper of tradition, I would ask you come forward and accept this proclamation, you may also bring your general officer with you if you so desire," said Mueller.
The Mayor's comments were then followed by the general's remarks, who added a personal and historical context to the day's celebration.
"Mayor thank you, one, that was very kind, and two, we appreciate the support of Sierra Vista, the citizens of Southern Arizona and really the entire state and this beautiful part of the country," said Baker
"And I want to thank you for making this a momentous occasion and we will put your proclamation in a place of honor in the headquarters for all to see for years to come and thank you for honoring us with your presence today and reading your proclamation to our command."
After thanking the Mayor of Sierra Vista and the community Baker reiterated the importance of NETCOM's history.
"The history of the command as you heard stretches out a century because the United States chose to become a world player in World War I, we went into World War I to defend our ideals, to defeat a group of Axis powers threatening our democracy and have remained a world power since World War I.
"The Organization of the 9th Signal Company in Hawaii was a part of the Army's growth and as you see that company through the years turn into a battalion then into Command and today, in 2018, the Network Enterprise Technology Command is a Guarantee'er of the Army's Networks. The Army is a global force and our job is to insure the Army's readiness."
As General Baker addressed the audience he shared some his family's military history and how it related to Centennial Celebration of NETCOM and the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
"There's been a Baker in the Army for at least a century, My Grandfather [Guy Baker] enlisted in the Army in 1917, my father in 1946 and I joined ROTC in 1981."
"As we look back at 100 years of service I brought a couple of artifacts from my family's history to just represent what was going on in 1918 in our Army. This a picture of my Grandfather's Army Air Corps Signal Squadron where he was a flying mechanic and his picture is right here…Sergeant Guy Baker," said the general as he pointed to an individual in the photo. "He used to fly around and fix the aircraft in the air and on the ground."
General Baker also showed the audience a pair of World War I leather aviator goggles and a trench knife once owned by his grandfather Sergeant Baker.
"I have had these goggles on display at my house for many years and this is the first time I brought them out in public" said Baker.
"Not only is it an honor to share with you as the NETCOM commanding general but as a Soldier on what our Army was doing 100 years ago," reiterated Baker.
Highlighting the centennial ceremony were the presentation of several centennial scrolls to NETCOM's top Soldiers and DoD civilians.
"We will be honoring members of the command and by doing so we will be presenting them these scrolls," said Baker.
"The Importance of our command isn't just what it's done over the last 100 years," said Baker. "It's what it will do for the next 100 years."
The day's celebratory events ended with a NETCOM organizational day where Soldiers, DoD Civilians and families celebrated the centennial with fun and games.
Although not present, Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, commanding general of the United States Army Cyber Command, sent his salutations and greetings to NETCOM in commemoration of their centennial celebration.
"NETCOM team, congratulations on celebrating your centennial birthday! As the United States Army Network Enterprise Technology Command celebrates this wonderful milestone, take time to reflect on your remarkable achievements throughout history."
"NETCOM continues to set the standard for Army-wide network operations and global security, ensuring freedom of action in cyberspace. As the Army's varsity communicators, we hope that you continue to celebrate this outstanding accomplishment made possible by the support of the Soldiers and civilians of your organization," said Lt. Gen. Fogarty.