By CRYSTAL LEWIS BROWN, Fort Jackson LeaderJune 18, 2009
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- One by one, the Soldiers slowly took their positions in front of Post Headquarters. The 13 Soldiers' uniforms ranged from the elaborate coats and headdress of the Revolutionary War-era Soldier to the BDUs worn by Soldiers only a few years ago.
The Soldiers, representing the progression of the Army from its inception until today, provided a fitting introduction to the Army's 234th birthday celebration.
Though the actual Army birthday was June 14, Fort Jackson celebrated with a ceremony Friday.
Col. Brian Reinwald, 165th Infantry Brigade commander, told those in attendance how important it is to recognize the Army's founding.
"Today, we will do that which our founders could not," he said. "And that is, have a birthday celebration."
The event also provided an opportunity to honor the Army's noncommissioned officers during the Year of the NCO, Reinwald said.
"From the very beginning, the Army has depended on the NCO Corps," he said. "On the 234th birthday celebration, we celebrate our NCOs."
In further recognition of the Year of the NCO, Sgt. Jimmie Billison, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, was chosen to cut the cake alongside Brig. Gen. Bradley May, commanding general and post Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall.
Billison is the most recently promoted NCO in the 165th Infantry Brigade.
He was introduced by Staff Sgt. Lisa Swanson, Fort Jackson's 2009 NCO of the Year.
"It makes you feel like you're really part of something ... especially as a younger Soldier," Billison said afterward. "You just think about all the stuff everybody went through from 1775 until now. You still want to leave that mark."
Also part of Friday's festivities was a cake-cutting ceremony at AAFES' Main PX. Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Culbertson did the honors in front of a group of AAFES customers and employees. Before cutting the cake, he led the group in singing "Happy Birthday."
"For 234 years, we've gotten this right," he said, referring to the Army. "We've gotten this right because of great Soldiers, great civilians and great family members."