On June 14, Fort Huachuca began its 238th Army Birthday celebration bright and early. Starting at 6 a.m., Soldiers gathered at Warrior-Sentinel Field for the annual Army Birthday Run.
Eight military units and civilian members of the Fort Huachuca community participated in the run or 1.5-mile walk, which ended where the event began, inside the complex. Runners and walkers then took part in a traditional cake cutting ceremony.
Following Army tradition, the youngest and oldest Soldier on the installation cut into the cake simultaneously, using sabers instead of knives. The youngest Soldier was Pfc. Terron McMillan, Company B, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. The oldest was Command Sgt. Maj. David Morris of the 2-13th Aviation Regiment.
Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, closed the event with an official “birthday speech” which recognized Army Soldiers of the past and present.
“ … on this Army Birthday, please keep the more than 80,000 Soldiers deployed in harm’s way and their Families in your prayers,” he said.
It’s not an official birthday party without inviting a few friends, but in the case of Thunderbird Dining Facility personnel – they decided to invite a few more. Civilians and retirees joined active-duty Soldiers for a birthday lunch and cake cutting. During the lunch hour, the dining facility was bustling with people.
Civilians such as Amparo Ruede and Heather Burson from the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground came in before the noon rush and sat down to a steak lunch. They mentioned how they like to eat here when the DFAC opens up to civilians on special occasions.
“I used to come and eat here all the time when I was active-duty,” Ruede said. “It’s an opportunity to come together with the Soldiers that we support.”
The Thunderbird Dining Facility opted for grilled entrees which included steak, ribs, chicken and corn-on-the-cob. While steak seemed to be the most popular food item, competing with the main food line that day was the line for birthday cake.
The cake cutting ceremony took place before the rush of lunch hour. Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Calvin, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and Pfc. William Willingham, Company A, both of the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, explained how it was an honor to be chosen to cut the dessert. Following Army tradition, Calvin the oldest Soldier and Willingham, the youngest, cut the cake together.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Andrew McClelland, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion commander, said a few words to reflect upon the Army’s 238th birthday.
“I think it’s a very fitting tribute to do [the cake cutting ceremony] in the DFAC and certainly in the presence of part of the individuals who make up the Army,” he said. “The Army is just an organization, but the organization is made up of all the Soldiers and civilians that every single day come to work to make it the best organization, and it’s truly reflective of America’s sons and daughters who are serving every single day to make this the best army in the world.”