News: Fort Carson hosts Army 237th Birthday Ball
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Williams
FORT CARSON, Colo. – The solitary single drum roll triggered the entrance of the 4th Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion Color Guard, and with permission from the commanding general, the posting of the colors. Centered on stage, the national colors, Army flag and division guidon adorned in streamers served as a reminder to all those in attendance the reason for the formal occasion.
Hosted by Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, soldiers and units celebrated the 237th birthday of America’s Army during a formal ball at the Special Events Center, June 16.
“All I can say is that this ball is a great success, and what a great way this is to celebrate our own 237th birthday,” Anderson said to the soldiers, friends and their loved ones gathered before him.
Before introducing the evening’s guest speaker, Anderson thanked the Fort Carson soldiers, and Department of Defense civilians for taking time to share in the centuries-old Army history of tradition and camaraderie.
In honor of the men and women serving in countries around the world, the traditional ball commemorated 237 years of the Army’s service to the nation, in particular, the soldiers and families who constitute the defense of freedom and the American way of life through their continued service and sacrifice.
Commanders from 4th Inf. Div. and tenant units raised their glasses to toast the commander in chief, the Armed Forces, the U.S. Army, the state of Colorado, the Mountain Post and its soldiers, the spouses and the families of soldiers currently deployed, and ushered in a moment of silence in honor of fallen comrades. Command Sergeant Major Brian Stall, senior enlisted leader of the “Iron Horse” Division, also called for a special toast from the gentlemen in honor of the ladies in attendance.
Fort Carson Non-commissioned Officer of the Year Staff Sgt. Mitchell Howard, financial management technician, 230th Financial Management Company, reminded patrons at the ball of the fallen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, lighting a ceremonial candle and tilting a chair in remembrance of those who could not attend the formal occasion.
Following dinner served by 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson food service specialists and entertainment provided by 4th Inf. Div. Band’s The Mile High Band, commanding general of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., joined Anderson, Stall, and Pvt. Tyler Heuer, in cutting the Army cake.
The youngest soldier attending the ball, Tyler, an infantryman assigned to 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., carried the ceremonial saber used to cut the 237th Army Birthday cake, recognizing the organization’s history, traditions and service to the nation.
In his remarks to the audience, Jacoby, the guest speaker for the event, welcomed home “Warhorse” soldiers of 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., recently returned from Afghanistan, and asked all to keep in mind the soldiers of 3rd BCT; 4th BCT; 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment; and 11 other Fort Carson units currently deployed in defense of the nation.
“When the U.S. Army goes to war, when the 4th Inf. Div. goes to war, we go to fight, and we go to win; and then we get back home to our families,” said Jacoby. “They are ‘Steadfast and Loyal,’ and I’ve seen that, and they are about winning.”
Jacoby invoked the memory of a small group of revolutionaries, “dreamers,” who enacted a vision for not only the future of a democratic nation but the world, creating an Army willing to fight for the preservation of an ideal that all men are free and a better future for mankind.
Since its birth June 14, 1775 – more than a year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence – the U.S. Army has served in more than 183 campaigns, from the American Revolution to the current campaign in Afghanistan, in defense of that dream.
“A simple thirst for peace, freedom, a hope for a better life for their children – this dream has been sparked and inspired by your U.S. Army and soldiers who have stepped to the front in protecting the 2.5 million people of America in 1775 and the over 300 million Americans of today,” said Jacoby.
The 237th birthday celebrated the men and women throughout the ages, whose actions forged the strength of the nation, defining its values of freedom, justice and hope, he said.
“Our soldiers may not talk much about it, but we believe in this thing called the United States of America,” Jacoby said. “We appreciate it in a way that so many others cannot. Our soldiers and families, who are part of something bigger, more enduring than ourselves – every soldier in our Army is an integral part of the fabric of our society and our nation.
“Soldiers came before us; soldiers will come after us, and we, as soldiers today, will do our part and earn our place in the line,” he said. “We do not seek pity. We are not victims. We humbly cherish the respect that is ours, earned from the duties we perform, and from what we give of ourselves and our families.”
In more than 237 years of service and sacrifice, earning 181campaign streamers than adorn the Army flag, America’s soldier turned foes into friends and friends into allies, working to share values of human dignity and mutual respect, Jacoby said.
The evening concluded with a special performance by Kathy Wampler, who dedicated a song to the Army’s wounded warriors, followed by a rendition of the Army Song, an invocation by the 4th Inf. Div. chaplain, Lt. Col. Keith Goode, and the retiring of the colors.
As soldiers and their dates socialized with one another, those brave enough to keep tradition alive took to the dance floor for the remainder of the night celebrating the passing of another year for the U.S. Army.