By Lynn Witkowski, APG Public Affairs OfficeApril 12, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aberdeen Proving Ground will continue a longstanding tradition with Harford County, as the entire community joins forces to salute America's armed services.
May 14 begins the "Heroes on the Home Front" week of events that offer something for anyone who wants to give thanks to our nation's military service members.
Events include an open house that displays the diverse military missions reflected at APG, a live fire demonstration, luncheons, athletic events and most of all, appreciation.
"This is our way of stopping for a moment, and gathering with our local communities to salute our troops," said Capt. Malikah McCormick, commander, APG Garrison HHC and coordinator for the Armed Forces Week events. "It's really a great opportunity to combine our shared admiration of America's men and women in uniform, and at the same time, have a lot of fun."
In previous years, the one-day event was so well attended that Garrison Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz expanded it to a weeklong celebration beginning in 2011.
"There are people outside our gates who look forward to this event all year long," he said. He added that in his travels to many military installations worldwide, he knows firsthand how eagerly the communities anticipate the joint celebration.
"APG is one of our nation's leading research, development, testing and evaluation centers, so this is also an opportunity for the community to see what we do here," he said. "This event also serves as a reminder that we don't do this alone. APG and Harford County are partners, and we appreciate that partnership."
The week's festivities begin with the Armed Forces Day Golf Tournament at Ruggles Golf Course on May 14, at with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m., and a 9 a.m. shotgun start.
"This event is one of the premiere events hosted at Ruggles each year," said Rik Bond, APG Golf Program manager and PGA professional. "It's a great event, a real jewel."
The tournament will be followed by lunch and award ceremony at 1 p.m. Foursomes can sign up for the tournament; for more information or to register, call 410-278-4794.
Local veterans will be honored at a luncheon at Top of the Bay on May 15, 11:30 a.m.--1 p.m.
Any veteran from past or current military service is welcome to attend; to register, contact 1st Sgt. Sonya Jackson of APG Garrison's Headquarters and Headquarters Company starting May 1, 410-278-3000. The luncheon is free for the first 50 veterans.
"This will give our local veterans a chance to meet other veterans, and find out the many organizations they may find helpful," Jackson said. "There also will be organizations that provide assistance to veterans, such as job assistance and housing."
The guest speaker will be Wood Parker, a 20-year Navy veteran, who is on the board of advisors for TASC, a contractor, one of the sponsors of the luncheon, along with Freedom Federal Credit Union.
APG in action
May 16 marks a full day of activities that the entire community can enjoy. The day begins with a Gold Star Family Breakfast (invitation only) at 8 a.m. Armed Forces Day activities start at 9 a.m. on the APG museum grounds. The public is welcome to watch demonstrations and view static displays from APG's many organizations.
The official opening ceremony starts at 10 a.m., with a concert, courtesy of the Army Field Band "The Volunteers," at 11:30 a.m.
The displays, demonstration and concert all are free and open to the public. For information about the activities planned, call 410-278-4500.
On May 17, 11 a.m.--1 p.m., Harford County Chamber of Commerce will mark the 35th year it has hosted the Military Appreciation Luncheon, "in honor of the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform," according to Vanessa Milio, chief executive officer for the Harford County Chamber of Commerce.
"The Harford County Chamber of Commerce wants to pay respect to our men and women in uniform," Milio said. "APG has been a huge economic impactor for this region. As a business community, we recognize that impact, and the ripple effect it has on our businesses. It's important for us to maintain that relationship, and support APG. The stronger the installation, the stronger our community."
Registration is required for the luncheon, which costs $20; go to the chamber's website at http://www.harfordchamber.org/Calendarofevents/calendarofevents.html, or call 410-838-2020 to register.
Run, walk and watch
The weeklong celebration concludes on May 19, which is Armed Forces Day, with a Fun Run/Walk sponsored by APG Garrison's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, starting at the APG Athletic Center. A 10K Run starts at 8 a.m., followed by a 2 Mile Fun Run at 8:30 a.m.
To register for the events or for more information, contact Byron Reasin, 410-278-7933/2621.
On APG's Main Front, a Live Fire and Military Equipment Display begins at 1 p.m. with interactive Static Vehicle Displays and displays of other military equipment. At 2:45 p.m. a Parade of Vehicles is scheduled, followed by a Live Fire Demonstration at 3:15 p.m.
The point of contact for the live fire demonstration is Heather Gryp, 410-278-4715.