Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall command leadership, together
with Arlington County leadership, community partners and
friends, celebrated the Army's 237th birthday June 14,
with a birthday cake-cutting ceremony in Arlington, Va., at
the Arlington County Courthouse.
JBM-HH Commander Col. Carl R. Coffman and Arlington County
Manager Barbara Donnellan co-hosted the event.
"For 237 years, the United States Army has protected
and defended our nation against all threats," said
Donnellan. "Locally this installation, known as Fort
Whipple, Fort Myer, and now, Joint Base Myer-Henderson
Hall, has called Arlington its home since the days of the
Civil War." Donnellan spoke on behalf of all
Americans, thanking the Army for its service, dedication
and sacrifice to the nation. "As Arlingtonians, we are
very pleased and honored to have you in our community. On
the occasion of the Army's birthday, it is again
appropriate for us to renew our commitment to support you
as you support and defend this nation," she said.
"We've enjoyed a tremendous partnership over the
years and I believe our partnership has never been stronger
than it is today."
Donnellan said through formal partnerships collaborating on
issues including public safety, emergency preparedness and
response, environmental initiatives, transportation
management and infrastructure or by simply gathering
together to celebrate and commemorate the Army's
birthday with JBM-HH, Arlington County and JBM-HH have, and
will continue to support each other.
"Every year, on June 14, we set aside time to
celebrate our Army's heritage and its proud traditions
and to remember the generations of Soldiers who followed in
the footsteps of those colonists who left their homes to
embrace our nation's call to duty," said Coffman.
"From 1775, when U.S. leaders established the
Continental Army, this act brought the militias of the 13
colonies together in their revolt against the oppressive
rule of the British -- beginning our Army's rich
heritage of meeting the needs of our nation to defend her
Although the odds were not in our country's favor,
Coffman explained "Soldiers made up for what they
lacked with enthusiastic patriotism and fervent dedication
to the ideals of freedom."
"Today's Army is the best equipped, trained and
led Army in history," said Coffman, crediting the 1.1
million professional Soldiers who serve, including National
Guardsmen and reservists in about 150 countries world-wide
-- carrying the same patriotism and devotion of those
Soldiers in the Continental Army.
He also credited the 278,000 Army civilians for their
commitment to serving the nation. "They take the same
oath as Army officers and members of Congress to support
and defend the Constitution," said Coffman.
Coffman also gave credit to Army Families, and said
Soldiers and civilians couldn't do what they do without
"Since 9/11, we've been an Army at war -- the
longest in our country's history. But our wives,
husbands, mothers, fathers and children -- our 1.4 million
Army Families -- have shouldered this burden as well,"
said Coffman. He pointed out that although Families endure
hardships, they provide the love and support that
strengthens the spirit of the Army.
"Our Army spouses have to act as both mother and
father during deployments, and every day they deal with the
same uncertainty our Soldiers face. But Army Families
Soldier on. They are self reliant, give back to their
communities and give back to the Army." Coffman
credited the strength of communities -- government,
business, service and civic leaders, employers, educators
and citizens - for providing support for Army Soldiers,
civilians and Families.
"Arlington County and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
have shared a long history since 1861, when 40,000 Soldiers
garrisoned the defenses of Washington at the peak of the
Civil War on what was known as the Arlington Line,"
said Coffman. "Since then, we have shared a positive
partnership -- one that continues to grow today. Together,
we are committed to building a stronger community -- one
that supports the strength, resilience and readiness of our
Soldiers and their Families." In conclusion, Coffman
said it was much more than words when he said the Army is
the strength of the nation. "It is a building block
that takes hundreds of thousands of people: The strength of
our nation is our Army, our Soldiers, our Families,
neighbors and communities. All combined, that is what makes
us Army strong," he said.
"Arlington is a very small place -- 26 square miles --
yet we believe our impact and presence is much larger than
that, as evidenced by our very significant military
presence, including the Pentagon, the Joint Base [JBM-HH]
and Arlington Hall," said Jay Fisette of the Arlington
County Board. He expressed the county's pride in their
working relationship with the military and their Families
over many years , forming a partnership between the county
and JBM-HH through planning in many areas of commerce,
including transportation and energy, emergency preparedness
and joint work between law enforcement and fire department
[emergency services] between Arlington and the joint
Soldiers from Headquarters Command Battalion greeted guests
and presented them ceremony programs and JBM-HH public
affairs representatives handed out Army lapel pins. The
audience filled the County Board room, representing JBM-HH
and Arlington County leadership and employees, members of
the county's Chamber of Commerce, police and fire
Following presentation of the colors, Master Sgt. Antonio
Giuliano, vocalist, United States Army Band, sang the
national anthem to begin the ceremony, led guests in
singing happy birthday to the Army and concluded the
ceremony leading the crowd as they sang the The Army Song,
with a resounding Army hooah!
Joining Coffman during the official cake cutting were
Donnellan, Fisette and Libby Garvey of the Arlington County
Board, JBM-HH Command Sgt. Maj. Necati Akpinar, U.S. Army
Headquarters Command Bn. Commander Lt. Col. Eric B.
Fleming, and Headquarters Command Bn. Command Sgt. Maj.
Pfc. Jordan Taylor, 19, 289th MP Co.'s youngest
Soldier, led Coffman and Donnellan in cutting the Army
birthday cake as part of the time-honored tradition of
having the youngest Soldier cut the ceremonial cake on the
Army's birthday. The Old Guard's 289th is
headquartered at JBM-HH.
Coffman recognized special guests in attendance, retired
Army Lt. Gen. Joseph DeFrancisco, the Civilian Aid to the
Secretary of the Army for Northern Virginia. He also
presented his commander's coin to Donnellan, Fisette
and Garvey during the ceremony.
"We are extremely honored to have such great neighbors
and partners in Arlington County," said Leah
Rubalcaba, JBM-HH community relations officer.
"Arlington County leaders wholeheartedly offered to
host this year's Army birthday celebration as a
testament to their continued support of Joint Base
Myer-Henderson Hall and our servicemembers."