By Sgt. Jessica M. Kuhn/XVIII Airborne Corps PAOOctober 21, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - "Our Army is the strength of the nation, our Soldiers are the strength of the Army, Families are the strength of the Soldiers, and our community is the strength of the Family. Airborne! All the way! Army Strong!" said Maj. Gen. Rodney O. Anderson, the deputy commanding general of XVIII Airborne Corps during "North Carolina Night" at the annual Association of the United States Army meeting and exposition in Washington D.C. Oct. 10 to 13.
Several Soldiers, past and present, along with members of the Fort Bragg community were in attendance at this year's AUSA festivities which kicked off with the Army Ten-Miler which ran through the nation's capital Oct. 9.
All three teams from Fort Bragg took first place in the men's, women's and men's master team active- duty divisions at this year's Army Ten-Miler.
"It feels great (winning the Army Ten-Miler)," said Spc. David McCarthy, a member of the Fort Bragg men's team. "There isn't anything better than setting a goal and then accomplishing it."
Following the race, the three teams were presented their trophies at an award ceremony in the Pentagon's parking lot. The men and women's teams were also recognized at the opening ceremonies of the annual AUSA meeting and exposition by the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III.
Also at the opening ceremonies, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Steven R. England, was named the recipient of this year's Sgt. Maj. of the Army William G. Bainbridge Medal for exceptional service to the Noncommissioned Officer Corps.
Throughout his career, England served as the command sergeant major of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, the command sergeant major of the 82nd Airborne Division and the commandant of the Fort Bragg NCO Academy.
Additionally, the Braxton Bragg, AUSA chapter from Fort Bragg, was presented an award for having the largest overall membership out of all the AUSA chapters.
Anderson and Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Howard, the command sergeant major of XVIII Abn. Corps, were presented the award on behalf of the Braxton Bragg chapter.
Additionally, the 82nd Abn. Div. was recognized during the AUSA chapter awards for having the largest active-duty division. The award was accepted by the rear commander, Col. Mark Murray and the rear command sergeant major Command Sgt. Maj. Steven L. Payton.
During the second day of the AUSA meeting and exposition, the 82nd Abn. Div. All American Chorus performed at the Eisenhower Luncheon where they received a standing ovation as they made their exit off the stage.
"It's a huge honor to be here performing in front of so many important people," said Spc. Davis Presley, who sang the solo during the song "American Soldier." "It's a bonus that I got to sing the solo for them."
Shortly following the luncheon, Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, XVIII Abn. Corps, spoke at the U.S. Army's Warrior Corner about their experiences serving the nation in Operation Enduring Freedom.
"We are here telling the story of our unit and our deployment," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Mumm, a native of Bonita Springs, Fla. "Ultimately, we are trying to help give an understanding of how effective and useful what we do is and why more units like us would be beneficial to the Army."
Later that night, members of the Braxton Bragg, Fort Bragg AUSA chapter, celebrated at the North Carolina Night hosted by the Braxton Bragg chapter. As the guests arrived, they were greeted with their own pair of silver jump wings representing the 'Home of the Airborne.'
Anderson was the guest speaker at this year's celebration.
"We have five priorities: win the current fight, develop a mix of capabilities for the future, preserve the all-volunteer force, continue our commitment to our profession, and adapt our leader development programs for the future," he said summarizing the message the secretary of the Army, the Honorable John McHugh, Odierno, and Chandler continuously emphasized throughout the week.
"With the trust that we have in our Army, we must remain ready today and prepare for the challenges of the future," Anderson said.