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    Florida Guardsmen supporting COVID-19 response celebrate the Army’s birthday

    Florida Guardsmen supporting COVID-19 response celebrate the Army’s Birthday

    Photo By Maj. Jesse Manzano | Pvt. Maelis Crossdale, a Soldier assigned to the 356th Quartermaster Company, and...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Jesse Manzano 

    50th Regional Support Group

    Homestead, Fla. – Soldiers assigned to the 50th Regional Support Group (RSG) of the Florida National Guard on duty supporting their state’s COVID-19 response throughout South Florida took time Sunday to celebrate the Army’s 245th birthday.

    While Army birthday celebrations are a mainstay for Soldiers in the active duty component, for many Florida Guardsmen this was the first time they had an opportunity to be a part of these festivities as members of the National Guard.

    “Last year, I was at Fort Jackson finishing AIT when the Army’s birthday took place,” said Pfc. Genesis Mathis, a human resources specialist assigned to the 50th RSG’s Headquarters Company, and the youngest Soldier in her unit. “I was excited to be a part of this year’s celebration with the 50th. These are the things that make us feel part of the team.”

    Mathis, alongside Lt. Col. Nate McMillan, the 50th RSG’s operations officer and the longest-serving Soldier in the Headquarters Company, cut the first piece of the cake with a ceremonial saber.

    One of the most popular Army birthday traditions involves having the longest-serving Soldier in the unit - representing the Army’s past and its history - cut the birthday cake using a ceremonial sword alongside the youngest Soldier – who represents the future of the Army. Cake-cutting celebrations were held in the 50th RSG headquarters in Homestead, as well as at the Hard Rock Stadium Community Based Testing Site (CBTS) located in the Miami-Dade, Broward county line.

    “The Army is one year older than the Nation it serves; although, the Florida National Guard has the Army beat by more than 250 years!” said Lt. Col. Jeff Moore, commander of the 254th Transportation Battalion, to the soldiers assembled for the cake-cutting ceremony at the Hard Rock Stadium CBTS. “The Army has been protecting our way of life for 245 years, a mission it continues to this day, with Soldiers currently serving around the globe and here on the home front.”

    Since starting COVID-19 operations in mid-March, the 50th RSG has served as the Florida Guard’s main effort supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. Working together with federal, state and local authorities throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the 50th RSG and its subordinate units have provided direct and indirect support to over a dozen CBTS locations, helping administer more than 200,000 sample collections to date in their area of operations. 50th RSG Soldiers are also supporting screening operations at three airports.

    “Our Soldiers have done a tremendous job over the last three months,” said McMillan. “We don’t have an opportunity to celebrate the Army’s birthday every year with our Soldiers, and this was a perfect occasion to honor the Army and thank them for their hard work and dedication during this historic COVID-19 response.”



    Date Taken: 06.14.2020
    Date Posted: 06.14.2020 17:49
    Story ID: 372104
    Location: HOMESTEAD, FL, US 

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