News: US Army Reserve celebrates Armed Forces Day in Torrance
Story by Staff Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – More than 300 U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from various California units participated in the annual Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade Saturday in Torrance, Calif.
Soldiers from the 79th Sustainment Support Command, 311th Expeditionary Support Command, 11th Military Police Brigade, 349th Combat Support Hospital, and 300th Army Band marched several city blocks as thousands of patriotic citizens vigorously waved flags in celebration and honor of past and present generations of service members.
“This is my first time participating or even attending, and I’m blown away,” said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Antonio Lopez, squad leader assigned to the 137th Quartermaster Company based out of El Monte, Calif. “The crowd and atmosphere is amazing, and you can really feel the appreciation from the community.”
The event highlights the significance of the military in the local community.
“The importance of the Torrance Armed Forces Day event is that it’s the longest running armed forces celebration in the nation,” said the U.S. Army Reserve’s senior ranking flag officer, Col. Richard A. Lamb, Commander of the 311th ESC out of Los Angeles, Calif. “This is their 54th year, and it shows the unity and cohesion between all the services — it brings all five services together.”
The three-day event, which also included concerts, military exhibits, and a BBQ, provided the public a chance to learn about military life and thank service members for their sacrifices. In return, service members had an opportunity to interact with the civilian community. “We got a chance to enjoy ourselves as a unit throughout the day. We met some new people both in and out of the military and were humbled for the recognition during the parade,” said Lopez.
The chance to develop a personal connection with the community is especially important for Army Reserve soldiers, said Lamb.
According to Lamb, it’s important for Reserve soldiers to connect with their communities due to the nature of their relationship. A Reserve soldier lives in the community both as a civilian and as a military member. The Reserve’s facilities are located in the center of these communities. Reserve soldiers are an invaluable asset to both sectors, truly twice the citizen.
The Army Reserve contributes unique talents and skill sets to the military that are not always found on active duty. The vast diversity of backgrounds and knowledge amongst the force brings unique value to our soldiers and their communities. It enhances the capabilities of the Army Reserve and increases the bond with their civilian and military counterparts.
“I am proud to be a member of the Army Reserve,” Lamb said.