This week Americans gather with family and friends to celebrate a distinctly American holiday: Thanksgiving. It is the time of year to remember how far we've come and to give thanks for our blessings.

When you think about the first American Thanksgiving, there are many parallels to our missions at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Consider that the pilgrims were pioneers. As the Army's future center for science and technology, our mission defines us as pioneers as well.

We are exploring new ground, claiming new territory and expanding the bounds of human knowledge. The pilgrims arrived on this continent with similar goals and aspirations.

Life was dangerous for these pioneers. They faced many challenges. The lessons we take away from their experiences are still valid today.

Our forefathers had to make do with what they had. Out of necessity, they were creative in making their resources last.

Recently, we talked about the importance of partnerships.

Think about how the pilgrims reached out to Native Americans to forge critical partnerships. Their very survival relied on the goodwill and friendship of Native Americans.

We also need to reach out to fellow units at APG and beyond to seek out partnerships that will sustain us.

The pilgrims were economical, efficient and resourceful. They were skilled workers, artisans and farmers. They used their skills to collaborate for the good of the entire community. We can learn from their experience.

As we look back at the accomplishments of 2010, it is obvious we have come a long way. We're conducting ribbon-cutting ceremonies at new facilities. New buildings are nearing completion. Organizations are unfurling their colors and calling APG home. Road workers are enhancing the infrastructure of the region with a $42.6 million project outside Gate 715. More than 100 new employees join Team APG each week. The pace of our transformation is increasing.

The Army continues to invest resources, people and effort in making Aberdeen Proving Ground a megabase for the future.

We have much for which to be thankful.

The first Thanksgiving brought together people from different races, cultures and backgrounds to share resources and build relationships.

Again, these are concepts we must embrace. We must adopt the spirit of explorers and pioneers to realize our vision for the future.

As Americans, we are forever thankful for the blessings of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

As Soldiers, and the civilians who support them, we are also thankful our efforts in some way empower, unburden and protect the Warfighter.

I encourage you to savor this holiday. Take a moment to give thanks for what we have. Tell your family members and coworkers how much you appreciate them. Your celebration of Thanksgiving is an affirmation of our continued shared success.

On behalf of Team APG, I wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving and best wishes during this holiday season.

Army Strong!