JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2012) -- Command Sgt. Maj. Jenny Bryan said she was somewhat surprised when on her 50th birthday Col. Clarence Combs III, the 80th Training Command's chief of staff, called her to the front of the room then asked nearly 300 participants at the command's Readiness Symposium to sing happy birthday to her.
Bryan, the senior enlisted leader of 3rd Brigade, 94th Training Division, said she anticipated some type of acknowledgement from her counterparts at the battalion level, but at the time she had no idea what the command sergeants major had planned.
She thanked the audience after they serenaded her, and then Bryan suggested that Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Sorenson get the same treatment since he was also having a birthday.
Sorenson who was born on Election Day in 1964 turned 48.
With microphone in hand, she joined the audience, made up mostly of leaders and staff members from across the 80th Training Command, and sang Happy Birthday to Sorenson.
"I knew they were going to do something for her, and I knew she would drag me into it," said Sorenson, senior enlisted leader of the 13th/100th Ordinance Battalion, 3rd Brigade.
Bryan said she was lucky to be able to spend her birthday with the symposium's participants because they're part of her Army family.
"That's not a…suck up comment; It's really meant from the heart," said Bryan. "Would I rather be home with my biological family? Yes, but duty calls."
"I've spent more birthdays in the Army doing Army business than I've spent at home," said Sorenson.
The purpose of the five-day symposium, which began on Oct. 31, was to improve readiness across the command by addressing issues that included unsatisfactory and non participants, evaluations and medical actions.
"Getting all the information to all the people who need to know it has long term dividends that'll make everyone's job easier and help the Army function more efficiently," Sorenson said.
Bryan acknowledged that the perfect birthday gift would be to resolve the readiness issues currently facing the brigade.