FORT McCOY, Wis. -- Fort McCoy helped the Army celebrate its 237th birthday June 14 with an event that included the traditional cake-cutting, a history of the Army's creation and the installation's Army Birthday celebrations, and a number of Morale, Welfare and Recreation events.

Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott led the lunch-time ceremony at Constitution Park.

Nott, along with 1st Sgt. Justin Maloney of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Fort McCoy; Al Fournier, deputy to the garrison commander; and Pvt. 2 Skye Kirk of the 86th Training Division, cut the cake.

After recounting the history of the Army's creation, Nott recapped Army Birthday celebrations held at the installation, including the first-recorded observance at then-Camp McCoy in 1958.

The day became an annual event at Fort McCoy in 1989 and has been celebrated in a variety of ways.

Fort McCoy celebrates the Army Birthday by recognizing that Soldiers are the most-crucial element to the country's national strategy and strategic success, Nott said.

"And we still rely upon a healthy dose of rugged individualism, clarity of moral purpose and the acknowledgement of American exceptionalism and our unique way of life if we are to secure freedom for future generations," Nott said. "Our Army is the guarantor of the legacy of the ideals that define America. It is most appropriate to celebrate its birth."

The cutting of the cake reflects that the Army's success relies on the entire Army team.

"Equally symbolic, our most-junior-ranking Soldier represents the passing of the Army's tradition of honor and success from one generation to the next," Nott said of Kirk's participation in the cake-cutting ceremony.

The Fort McCoy Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) coordinated the day's events, which began with the Commander's Challenge 5K run. A record 283 competitors participated in the event.

Members of the Fort McCoy work force also enjoyed a free drive-thru breakfast, plus a free T-shirt.

Other DFMWR events included a free automatic car wash, a free lunch and free bowling at McCoy's Thunder Bowl Bowling Center.

Youth and staff from the Child Development Center and School Age Services also collaborated to hold an Army Birthday carnival June 15.

For more information about DFMWR events call the Event Line at 877-864-4969 or 608-388-7400 or visit the website www.mccoymwr.com.