Army leader celebrates achievements, honors the past

By Samantha TylerJune 20, 2024

Army leader celebrates achievements, honors the past
Army Materiel Command Deputy Commander and Redstone Arsenal Senior Commander Lt. Gen. Chris Mohan joins in cutting the cake during the Association of the U.S. Army's Army Birthday Dinner celebration June 14 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala. From the left are Marc Jacobsen, AUSA Redstone-Huntsville chapter president; Spc. Kennedy Weeden; retired Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Paul Gulick (obscured); Mohan; retired Staff Sgt. John Brashears; retired Master Sgt. Bob Sawada; and World War II and Korean War veteran Arthur Hullett. (U.S. Army photo by Eric Schultz) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Madison County community members reflected on the Army’s 249 years of service to the nation during the Army Birthday Celebration dinner, hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army Redstone-Huntsville chapter in Huntsville, June 14.

Nearly 150 people gathered in the Von Braun Center to celebrate the Army’s birthday. Lt. Gen. Chris Mohan, Army Materiel Command’s deputy commanding general and acting commander, who also serves as Redstone’s senior commander, called the evening “a celebration of something we all love.”

“Part of Army life are the hard things – the training, the wars, family separations, sacrifices. Another part is the ethos surrounding the Army – patriotism, courage, duty, our values,” he said. “But for me, the Army is also about the things we love. It’s about the good things that wouldn’t have happened to us anywhere else but in the Army. It’s not saying goodbye when we move, it’s ‘see you later.’ When times are tough, the Army holds us together.”

This event was one of many that took place during Armed Forces Celebration Week – a time for the community surrounding Redstone Arsenal to honor those who serve. This year marked the first time in years that the Army’s birthday fell within the week. Mohan said having been a senior commander at four different Army installations, no other community celebrates its military like this one. He also explained the significance of the Arsenal.

“This place is the engine of innovation that is driving our national defense enterprise,” he said.

Mohan also reiterated the community’s impact on recruiting, noting how important it is. Thanks to the hard work of the 2nd Recruiting Brigade and the Montgomery Recruiting Battalion, the state is already above its recruiting goal for the whole year.

“Young people in other places are walking away from service, but not here,” Mohan said. “It’s because of support from people like you.”

He also shared advancements the Army has made, including the M10 Booker that was rolled out at Anniston Army Depot. The tank, named after two enlisted Soldiers from two different wars, provides infantry brigades overwhelming precision firepower, allowing it to maintain momentum and freedom of action against enemy forces.

In line with the Army birthday’s theme – “Honoring the past. Defending the future” – Mohan shared the significance of the Army throughout history: how it fought in a revolution, helped found a new nation and defended that nation from the very beginning. He also ended the evening by recognizing four local veterans:

  • Retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Paul Gulick, who tried to alter his birth certificated to show he was 18 years old when he was just 16. He would later join the Marines and serve two tours in Vietnam.
  • Retired Master Sgt. Bob Sawada, who survived the Dachau Concentration Camp, was liberated by U.S. Soldiers and joined the U.S. Army. He served two tours in Vietnam.
  • Arthur Hullet, who served in World War II and the Korean War. He is also a Gold Star family member, whose brother was killed in the Korean War.
  • Retired Staff Sgt. John Brashears, who served in World War II, in Korea and in Vietnam. He is turning 100 years old this year.

“Let us commit ourselves to defending the future, ensuring that the values of freedom, justice and democracy endure for generations to come,” Mohan said.