REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - In honor of the Army's 235th birthday, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) celebrated on June 14 here at the Von Braun Complex 1, Building 5220, with a program that reflected on the importance of the role of space in the Army.
Before the celebration, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Commanding General Lt. Gen. Kevin T. Campbell welcomed two visiting wounded warriors, Spc. Michael Clackum and Staff Sgt. Katie McCluskey, both of whom are also Purple Heat recipients.
As part of the celebration, Mr. Ed Buckbee - author and founder of the U.S. Space Camp program - spoke to a filled room of more than 100 command employees about Redstone's involvement in the evolution of the space program.
"Redstone Arsenal was a key vehicle, a reliable space," Buckbee said as he discussed the famed Wehner Von Braun's assignment to create a spacecraft to accomplish the mission of sending man to the moon.
Buckbee said Von Braun would be proud of how the space program evolved and continues to do so. He said he would have encouraged the Army and the country to "maintain a leadership role, establish breakthrough technology, and set bold and difficult goals to keep America first in space."
Following Buckbee's presentation, both Campbell and Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph C. Borja thanked everyone for coming and wished everyone a Happy 235th Army Birthday, stressing that civilians and veterans were just as much a part of the team.
"Whether you are working on research, [or] in uniform, [or] are part of the staff ... all of it counts," Campbell said. "For everyone associated with the Army, this is OUR celebration."
The ceremony concluded with the formal cutting of the cake, in which the youngest Soldier present and the eldest cut the cake. Sgt. Maj. John Mattie, the eldest, passed his duty on to Borja, as this was his last birthday celebration before his upcoming retirement. Borja also invited the two visiting Wounded Warriors to join them in the tradition.