By Matthew Montgomery, Fort Lee Public AffairsJune 10, 2008
Fort Lee, Va. (June 10, 2008) -- Since the inception of the first Continental Army in 1775, the Army has grown from 17,000 Soldiers to more than one million currently serving in Army components throughout the world.
The Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee are celebrating the Army's birthday by dedicating a day to the great sacrifices the men and women of this country have been making for the past 233 years.
The day's events include a variety of sporting events and activities to foster team building, enhance camaraderie and show pride in an organization founded on June 14, 1775 to meet the demands of the American Revolutionary War.
"These kinds of days, and the associated sporting events, are critical to reducing stress through a little friendly sports competition and are essential to our team-building strategy," said Col. Terence J. Hildner, 23rd Quartermaster Brigade commander. "They remind us that we are one team, Army Strong, that draws its strength from camaraderie and unit cohesion. We will be out in large numbers to participate and cheer on our teammates."
To start the day's events, Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, will lead installation personnel on a three-mile run to honor the Army's rich history that began with Gen. George Washington leading American Soldiers into battle against Great Britain.
There will also be the opportunity for personnel to bike 4.1 miles or walk approximately two miles. The installation run, bike and walk event starts at 6:30 a.m.
Following the run, all installation personnel are invited to attend an enlistment, reenlistment, award and birthday ceremony at Williams Stadium. The enlistment and reenlistment ceremony will feature about 10 recruits taking the oath to defend the country and more than 10 current Soldiers reaffirming their commitment.
The guest speaker is The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr., former secretary of the Army. West served as the secretary of the Army under the Clinton administration from 1993-1997 and later served as the 3rd U.S. secretary for Veterans Affairs.
Comments from West will be followed by the cake-cutting ceremony where Chief Warrant Officer James Wiggins, the oldest Soldier present on Fort Lee, will be cutting the ceremonial birthday cake for the last time.
"After 42 years, I feel like it's time to move over and let someone else have the title," said Wiggins, a 61-year-old property book technician.
Wiggins first came to Fort Lee in 1966 for advanced individual training and will finish out his career here next year.
The 300-portion cake created by Juan Delvalle, Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence instructor, will receive final touches on Friday.
"My biggest concern was making sure it was done right and on time," said Delvalle who retired from the Marine Corps after 21 years of service. "I've made cakes for all branches of the service and each time it is an honor."
After the ceremony, units are encouraged to participate in various sporting events taking place around the installation. Among these events is the Army Birthday Celebration Golf Tournament hosted by the Cardinal Golf Course.