By RACHEL PONDER, APG NewsMay 25, 2009
The final Ordnance Week held at Aberdeen Proving Ground culminated with the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools' 197th Anniversary Ball at Top of the Bay May 8.
It was the final anniversary ball held at APG for OC&S headquarters which will move to its new home at Fort Lee, Va., later this year, the result of Base Realignment and Closure law. This year marked 92 years that OC&S has been headquartered at APG.
The event featured a display highlighting the history of the Ordnance Corps which has a proud tradition, dating back to the days of the American Revolution, whose purpose is to support the development, production, acquisition and sustainment of weapons systems and munitions, and to provide explosive ordnance disposal, during peace and war, and to provide superior combat power to current and future forces of the U.S. Army.
Photos of past OC&S events were available for guests to take as keepsakes.
Also on display was a painting by Don Stivers commemorating the Casing of the Ordnance School Colors May 8 in front of the OC&S building.
The evening also celebrated the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer.
The evening began with a social hour in the upper mezzanine then moved to the main ballroom after the Call to Mess.
The first sergeants of the NCO Academy provided the evening's color guard.
First Sgt. Anthony Dorsey, ANCOC, branch chief, led the posting and retiring of the colors.
Master of Ceremonies and OC&S Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff Col. David W. Spence quoted from an anonymous source during the posting of the colors: 'Wherever I go, my colors speak of freedom for all people. I was conceived to represent an ideal, one whose message has been carried over two centuries. I wave in silent tribute to the good that mankind has shown. I am liberty, the flag of the United States of America.
Chaplain (Capt.) Kurt O'Donnell, 16th Ordnance Battalion, gave the invocation, asking a blessing for the Soldiers and Families who were represented, and those who were deployed.
"We pray for of the safety of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," he prayed.
During the opening of the program, several toasts were made.
Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Green, NCO Academy Commandant, made a toast to the fallen Soldiers.
Spence drew the guests' attention to the Table of Remembrance at the front of the ballroom.
"This table set before you represents our fallen comrades," Spence said. "This table is our way of remembering and honoring those who are missing from our midst, they are commonly called prisoners of war, missing in action and killed in action. We call them brothers."
Chief of Ordnance Brig. Gen. Lynn A. Collyar then gave welcoming remarks.
"APG will always be a part of the Ordnance Corps," he said.
Collyar said that there was an impressive group of attendees at the ball, noting that 20 active and retired general officers and a significant number of command sergeants major and chief warrant officers were in attendance, as well as many OC&S Hall of Fame inductees.
"This is the most impressive group I have ever seen," he said.
Collyar asked attendees to not forget the relationships formed with the Ordnance Corps, adding that it is important that organizations on APG continue the relationships formed with local schools and mentorship programs.
Following the dinner, a three-dimensional cake of building 3071, commonly known as the 'school house,' was cut by Collyar, retired Gen. Leon Salomon, the Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Eubanks, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Steven McWilliams the Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment, the Regimental Chief Warrant Officer CW5 Arthur Dahl IV, and retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert J. Wurm, Honorary Warrant Officer of the Regiment.
Captain Dave McCormick, brigade assistant S-3, who organized the event, said that he wanted a cake that symbolized the OC&S building.
"I felt like it was a great honor to help organize the final OC&S ball at APG," he added. "I wanted the event to bring everyone together and to celebrate before we move to Fort Lee."
The guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony T. Aubain deputy chief of staff, G-4, remarked that he is glad that NCOs are getting the recognition that they deserve, particularly when the nation has been at war for seven years.
"The stress that they put on NCOs grows every day," he said.
NCOs are responsible for supervising the younger Soldiers, and have to make sure they are safe. They are at the frontline of enforcing and reinforcing institutional values, Aubain added.
"NCOs lead from the front," he said. "NCOs provide the glue that is holding the Army together, and they do an incredible job."
Aubain added that Soldiers face challenges from a strength that comes from within. Soldiers have a love for duty and country that is more important than life itself.
"Thank you for what you do everyday," Aubain said.
At the end of the program, guests received a dog tag and a picture symbolizing the different areas on APG.
McCormick added that he enjoyed the guest speaker.
"I felt like the guest speaker was excellent and relevant during the Year of the NCO," he said. "NCOs deserve the recognition for all that they do."
Several attendees said that they were impressed with the ball.
"Many wanted to come out to show their support to OC&S," said Maj. Lilieth Whyte, the executive officer to the commanding general. "This is the largest number of attendees I have seen at an OC&S event since I have been working at APG."
Master Sgt. Elmer Richards, chief instructor for the 187th Ordnance Battalion and is currently stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C., said that he traveled to APG with his wife for Ordnance Week. Richards said that he enjoyed Aubain's speech.
"I always enjoy hearing Aubain speak, and I felt like this was a good tribute to the Ordnance Corps and the Year of the NCO," he said. "The NCO Corps is a time honored Corps. NCOs are leading the way. NCOs need to represent Army values to the Soldiers in order to protect our great nation."
Richards continued that he hopes that all of the NCOs who were at APG during Ordnance Week take their training that they learned back to their fellow NCOs and Soldiers.
Richard's wife, Lydia, added that she enjoyed Ordnance Week, and felt that events like the ball are important to build up the community.
"Life as a military Family can be difficult, which makes having a sense of community very important. We need to support each other," she said.