FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- The 8th Theater Sustainment Command's Office of the Staff Judge Advocate recently relocated to Building T123 on Fort Shafter's historic Palm Circle and celebrated their move as well as the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps 244th Birthday with a ribbon cutting ceremony, July 29.
The ceremony paid tribute to the rich history of the Army JAG Corps and signified that the 8th TSC OSJA relocation was officially complete.
"Today, we celebrate not only the 244th birthday of America's largest and most dynamic law firm," said Lt. Col. Michael Friess, 8th TSC SJA during his opening remarks. "We also witness a new era for the 8th TSC OSJA as we officially open our new office, here on the historic and beautiful Palm Circle."
Themes of people and service were prevalent throughout the ceremony as the most junior judge advocate within the 8th TSC OSJA with only seven months on active duty, 1st Lt. Alex Markoff, read the history of the JAG Corps and the youngest enlisted JAG Corps Soldier in attendance, Spc. Samantha Marfisi, a paralegal specialist assigned to the 130th Engineer Brigade, participated in the cake cutting.
"I've always been proud of our country's history and tradition of service. I felt a responsibility to contribute in some way - and as a judge advocate I'm able to do that as both a lawyer and a Soldier," said Markoff. "I love the variety. One day I'll be doing a legal review for a commander, the next I'll be explaining rules of evidence at a disciplinary hearing, and the next I'll be preparing for an overseas exercise. You don't get that at a law firm."
Prior to the move, the 8th TSC OSJA's Military Justice section was located on Wheeler Army Airfield separate from its main office, which was in a modular building here on Fort Shafter. The move consolidated the entire 8th TSC legal office into one building, affording its over twenty attorneys and paralegals easier access to each other to tap into the subject matter expertise that resides in its office.
Friess closed the ceremony by thanking individuals, the 8th TSC's OSJA personnel and the 8th TSC G4 Section who were pivotal to making the move happen, which took almost three months. He also emphasized the important role of the Army Staff Judge Advocate which was developed in 1776 when Gen. George Washington quickly realized when he was Commander-in Chief that there was a need for an officer to interpret regulations and conduct courts-martials and other disciplinary actions.
"As judge advocates, our job is both very complex and simple," said Freiss. "Complex because we advise at all levels of command, all over the world, both deployed and in garrison on every type of legal issue. At the same time our job is simple, because it really boils down to one mission essential task -- advise the commander."