FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division celebrated the battalion's birthday and held a safety day, here, June 30.

The day began at 6:30 a.m. with a run lead by battalion commander, Lt. Col. James Smith, and the battalion's colors. Each of the unit's eight companies participated in the run, motivating each other with cadences.

The 215th Bde. Support Bn. was constituted June 30, 1971 during the Vietnam Conflict as 215th Composite Service Battalion and assigned to the 3rd Brigade (Special), 1st Cavalry Division. The battalion served multiple tours in Vietnam, Kuwait and Iraq, providing logistical support to combat operations there and received unit citations for their efforts.

Smith invited the unit's youngest Soldier, Pvt. Derrick Harris, a cook from Villa Rica, Ga., to help cut the battalion's birthday cake. The commander said it was important to recognize the unit's heritage.

"The Army is an organization full of heritage and tradition," he said. "It is important to trace and recognize your lineage. By taking the time today to celebrate the battalion's birthday, we also honor those who came before us."

After the birthday festivities, Soldiers dispersed to their companies for classes on summer safety.

Soldiers learned about everything from dirt bike and fireworks safety to heat injury prevention. Sgt. 1st Class Jason Keller instructed the boating safety class and said the emphasis was especially important before Independence Day weekend.

"We have Soldiers that own boats and that have little ones that like to swim," Keller said. "With summer upon us, the easiest way to cool off is to go swimming and we want to make sure there is a plan whenever they are doing their water activities."

Soldiers agreed that the training they received was relatable to scenarios they may encounter while deployed.

"This helps you stay aware of things out there that you don't know about," said Spc. Raul Samudia, a mechanic from San Antonio, Texas with Headquarters and Headquarters Company. "It keeps you alive."

The commander emphasized the importance of educating Soldiers on safety.

"I want our young Soldiers to know that they are the most important asset in this organization. I want them to understand that they are the battalion, their well-being and contributions are valued and that they have a vital role in shaping the unit's history," Smith said.