But today is about all of us. Happy birthday and cheers to the next 248 years — Brig. Gen. Shane P. Morgan, acting commanding general, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill.
FORT SILL, Okla. (June 14, 2023) –Brig. Gen. Shane P. Morgan, acting commanding general of the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill and Command Sgt. Maj Neil H. Sartain hosted a celebration in honor of the Army’s 248th Birthday.
Wednesday, June 14 marked the 248th birthday of the United States Army. And as is tradition, Morgan and Sartain commemorated the occasion with an Army flag heritage presentation and a cake-cutting ceremony. The guests of honor included the oldest and the youngest Soldiers on Fort Sill.
The United States Army flag stood center stage on full display. It is a symbol of the service men and women’s dedication, commitment, and service to the nation.
“The one thing I ask everyone to think of is how powerful it is to be a Soldier in the United States Army,” said Sartain. “It doesn’t matter if you are in uniform, on Fort Sill, or on the other side of the globe. You stand for everything; you represent everything that the U.S. Army stands for.”
Drill Sergeant Joseph Rodriguez, the 2023 Fort Sill Drill Sergeant of the Year, placed the streamers onto the Army flag. He was assisted by Drill Sergeant James Gibblin, the 2023 434th Field Artillery Drill Sergeant of the Year. There are 187 streamers on the Army flag — each represents campaigns fought by the Army throughout our nation’s history. In 1920, the war department directed regiments to bear streamers in the colors of the campaign ribbon for each war they had fought in.
“These streamers are a reflection of this nation’s will to preserve freedom no matter the cost,” said Schmidt. “Our great Army has earned many honors in its 248 years of service; however, we must never forget it was the men and women of our nation who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”
After the completion of the heritage ceremony, the cake-cutting ceremony kicked off. A fun tradition every year is to find the youngest and oldest Soldiers serving on the installation to stand side-by-side with the Fires Center of Excellence command team to cut the cake. This year the youngest Soldier was 17-year-old Pvt. Yadiel Rivera, Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion 79th Field Artillery, of Salinas, Puerto Rico.
“I enlisted in the Army as a pharmaceutical specialist to make my mother proud,” said Rivera.
The oldest Soldier, three years running was Maj. Felix Kumai, the 428th Field Artillery Brigade Chaplain, whose age is unlisted, and is originally from Nigeria.
“I joined to serve God and country, and to take care of the spiritual needs of Soldiers, especially in combat,” said Kumai.
With the saber in hand, and one forceful swing– Morgan, Sartain, Kumai, and Rivera cut the cake!
“There is so much history here [Fort Sill], we should be proud of,” exclaimed Morgan. “But today is about all of us. Happy birthday and cheers to the next 248 years.”