By Kimberly Fritz, Fort Lee Public AffairsJune 15, 2009
FORT LEE, Va. (June 12, 2009) -- With 234 years of Army history and tradition to celebrate, more than 1,000 members of Team Lee gathered at Williams Stadium June 12.
Fort Lee's Army Birthday Celebration recognized the 2009 theme "Year of the Noncommissioned Officer," as the installation's NCOs were out in force during the ceremonies.
Sgt. First Class William C. Lindsey, a chaplain assistant with Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee, gave the invocation. He reminded the Soldiers, Family members and Department of the Army Civilians gathered that all celebrations take place in freedom because of the sacrifices of others.
Staff Sgt. Jimmie Fedrick, from the Fort Lee Warrior Transition Unit, was guest speaker. Fedrick, who is recovering from injuries sustained by an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq, spoke about those who follow the call to duty.
"Thank you for joining me, a warrior in transition, for today's annual Army birthday celebration," Fedrick said. "Throughout the Army's history, the nation has asked much of its Soldiers and never have we responded and preformed more bravely or honorably than we do today."
He thanked all the Soldiers for always putting the mission first, never accepting defeat, never quitting and never leaving a fallen comrade behind.
Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general spoke about who and what makes the U.S. Army the best in the world.
"Today we are going to celebrate and commemorate 234 years of the best Army the world has ever seen, Chambers said. "Soldiers to your left and Soldiers to your right, Soldiers behind you represent the best the world has to offer. "Two hundred and thirty four years ago, our Army was established to defend our nation and today our mission remains unchanged. It's a time to honor everyone who wears the uniform and who has worn the uniform; as well as the Department of the Army civilians and contractors and first and foremost our Family members. We could not celebrate without any of you. You are America's Army."
Paying particular attention to the NCO gathered for the ceremony, Chambers credited them for helping to make the Army the best trained and best equipped Army in the world.
"Our Army today represents the best led, the best trained and best equipped that the world has ever seen, due in large part to the noncommissioned officer," said Chambers. "In 2009, we are celebrating and focusing on the Year of the NCO. We are celebrating their contribution past and present and informing the American people that the national treasure is not found on Wall Street. It is in the courage and character found in the hearts of our NCOs. Soldiers serving in the all volunteer force represent all that is right and good about our nation."
Before the cutting of the cake, Chambers administered the oath of enlistment to 27 Soldiers and their Family members. He said it is not just the Soldier that enlists and re-enlists, but the Family as well.
Spc. Cail Towns, Headquarters and Headquarters Co. 240th Quartermaster Battalion, 49th QM Group, was among those ready for new adventures.
"I think it was meant to be that I re-enlisted on the Army's birthday," Towns said. "My paperwork was delayed and because of that I have the honor of taking the oath on the Army's birthday."
The day began earlier with approximately 3,000 members of Team Lee led by Chambers on a three-mile installation run. Festivities continued for the remainder of the day with individual units hosting sporting competitions.