Story by Mr. Anthony L. Taylor, 85th Support Command Public Affairs Office
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – U.S. Army Reserve units celebrated across the world Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013, as the U.S. Army Reserve turned 105 years old; the 85th Support Command – based 25 miles northwest of Chicago—in coordination with First Army, Division West, expanded on a birthday celebration across their entire formation throughout the Midwestern United States.
In sharing the contributions and service of Army Reserve Soldiers, Brig. Gen. Gracus K. Dunn, dual-assigned as Deputy Commanding General for Support, First Army Division West, and Commanding General, 85th Support Command; initiated an effort to celebrate the Army Reserve’s birthday between the eight First Army Division West -active component- brigades located at Fort McCoy, Wis.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.; and at the 85th Support Command headquarters in Arlington Heights, Ill.
In addition to the joint celebration, the active component Army, the Army Reserve, National Guard, and the Army Reserve Ambassadors also attended to help spread the awareness of the Army Reserve Ambassador program. In their messages, they shared their contributions and support to Army Reserve units, and local communities from the 114 Ambassadors spread across the United States.
“This is the first time (the Army Reserve birthday) has been conducted in this nature at the active component installations,” said Dunn.
Working in a unique multi-component structure relationship with First Army, Division West, Dunn looked at this event as a way to further engage with the active component elements and sharing insight and experiences from all perspectives.
Although this was an Army Reserve celebration, all of the First Army, Division West brigade commanders were involved in the planning and execution of these celebrations, said Dunn.
“This celebration was not just about the Army Reserve but that we are one Army,” Dunn said.
All celebratory events were coordinated to take place at 11:30 A.M. at their respective locations. Attendees at Fort Hood, Texas reached nearly 200 participants to included Maj. Gen. Warren Phipps, Commanding General, First Army Division West; Brig. Gen. Gracus Dunn, Deputy Commanding General for Support, First Army Division West; and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Orosz, Command Sergeant Major, First Army Division West.
Also in attendance were Col. Timothy Bush, commander of the 120th Infantry Brigade; Col. Richard Creed, commander of the 479th Field Artillery Brigade; and Col. Kevin Vizzarri, commander of the 166th Aviation Brigade; Soldiers from the Fort Hood Mobilization Brigade; and Soldiers from the 2202 Mobilization Support Battalion and 2205 MSBn, 2nd Mobilization Support Group, 85th Support Command, -- based out of Fort Sill, Okla., -- who are currently mobilized to Fort Hood.
Retired Army Reserve Brig. Gen., Dr. Henry J. Ostermann, Army Reserve Ambassador for Texas, celebrated in the birthday event and cake cutting with the oldest and youngest Soldiers.
Festivities held in the Fort Bliss area were conducted in El Paso, Texas and at McGregor Range Base Camp, New Mexico. 2206 MSBn, and 2208 MSBn conducted an intimate unit celebration during their weekend battle assembly formation hosted by Lt. Col. Stephen Krebs, 2206 MSBn Battalion Commander.
The Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment executive officer, Lt. Col. Todd Kurtzhals, hosted the ceremony at McGregor Range with the support of the command team from the 2207 MSBn.
In attendance were Col. Eric Schact, commander of the 5th Armored Brigade; the DoMaD director, Col. John Dorney, and Soldiers from the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade; 333 Eng. Co., Reading, Pa.; 56 Military Police Co., Mesa, Ariz.; and the 450th MP Co., Nashville, Tenn.
Retired Army Reserve Col., Robert O. Cortez, Army Reserve Ambassador for New Mexico, addressed the crowd of Army Reserve, Active Duty, and National Guard Soldiers –with the 5th Armored Brigade, DoMaD, and 2207 command teams at his side.
“Thank you for the invite to be down here with the troops.. Happy Birthday Army Reserve, and thank you Soldiers for all that you do to keep the Army Strong,” said Cortez.
The Fort Hunter Liggett Army Reserve birthday celebration was hosted by Col. John “Jack” Marr, commander of the 189th Infantry Brigade, during the unit’s Warrior Exercise there. The outdoor event was held among an audience of about 150 Soldiers to include the post commander, Col. Donna Williams; and the post command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Newman; members from the 91st Training Division; and numerous Army Reserve units conducting the WAREX training.
Retired Army Reserve Col., Dr. Dan Furtado, Army Reserve Ambassador for California, engaged with the Soldiers and spoke about his experiences in the Army Reserve; he also toured a few of the vehicles and training equipment that the units had on site as part of their WAREX training.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord celebrated at McChord Movie Theater with about 120 Soldiers in attendance. Col. John Velliquette, commander of the 1st Joint Mobilization Brigade, hosted the event with the 2214 MSBn currently mobilized at JBLM. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, Deputy Commanding General, I Corps attended the ceremony along with Col. William Steinkircherner, I Corps Army Reserve Liaison Officer, members from the 189th Infantry Brigade, 191st Infantry Brigade, 80th Division, 95th Division, and 104th Division.
Retired Brig. Gen. Stan Flemming, Army Reserve Ambassador for Washington, took part in the ceremony and shared stories of his career in the Army.
Fort McCoy celebrated with an audience of 50 Soldiers and civilians. The event was hosted by Col. Mark Nozaki, 85th Support Command Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, working there on legal support to the 181 INF BDE.
Other attendees included Col. Steven Nott, Fort McCoy Garrison Commander; Col. Eric Angeli, commander of the 181 INF BDE; Mr. Charles Hudson, 88th Regional Support Command; and Fort McCoy tenant representatives.
Retired Col., Max Oleson, Army Reserve Ambassador to Wisconsin, recalled in his speech to the audience of the heroism of a Wisconsin Soldier, Staff Sgt. Richard Billmeyer, 469th Engineer Co., who paid dearly for his support of America by losing three limbs and yet never regretted his service.
The birthday celebration at the 85th Support Command’s headquarters was hosted by Col. Lynn Barden, 85th SPT CMD Comptroller.
In attendance of the celebration here was Mayor Arlene Mulder, Village President of Arlington Heights; — retiring after 20 of service to the community— retired Maj. Gen., Mr. John Scully, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the State of Ill.; retired Col., Mr. William Hawes, Army Reserve Ambassador for Ill.; and Col. John Ellis, Commander of the Defense Contract Management Agency Central Region.
Also in the crowd of nearly 100 Soldiers and civilians were members from the Chicago Recruiting Battalion; 3rd Battalion, 75th Training Command; 327th Military Police Battalion; 822nd MP Company; 814th MP Co.; — all three military police units belonging to the 200 MP Command based out of Fort Meade, Md. — and the 85th Army Band.
Following the spoken lineage of the Army Reserve, a member from each unit shared their individual unit’s lineage which all shared service dating back to at least World War II.
Mulder, who has shown continued support to the 85th SPT CMD in her time as mayor, gave remarks sharing an experience that she had with a former German Soldier in Germany while visiting there.
“A few years ago in Germany, we saw a statue on a river cruise, and the guide told us a story that said a lot about the American military. He said ‘We were fighting and every night we prayed that when we were caught that it would be the United States and not the Russians’,” said Mulder. He was sent to a (prisoner of war) camp in Atlanta, (Georgia) and he said he was never treated so well. So, I think one thing to be proud of is not only your bravery and accomplishments, but also your humanity.”
Mulder went on in expressing her appreciation for service.
“I think those who are aware of life in other places on this earth appreciate real freedom, and we would not have that if we would not have the dignified, professional Army and Army Reserve which are key to the strength of this Nation,” said Mulder. “So thank you from an ordinary citizen.”
Scully shared his story as Soldier serving during the Vietnam War and reflected on how far the Army Reserve has come since then, and especially in just the last 10 years at war.
“When you celebrate your birthday, it is important to let your congressman know and let your senator know how important the Army Reserve is to the Army,” said Scully.
Hawes thanked all of the Soldiers for their service and reiterated messages from Scully.
“Moving forward, the Army Reserve needs continued support from elected officials and the public to remain the great return on investment for America’s Total Force and the American taxpayer that it currently is. At a cost of only 6 percent of the Army’s budget, the Army Reserve comprises almost 20 percent of the total Army,” said Hawes.
Ellis, serving as an active duty Army commander, was one of the last guests to speak.
“There’s a phrase that rubs me the wrong way ‘just a reservist’.. Being married to an Army Reserve Soldier, I’ve learned about the sacrifice that an (Army Reserve Soldier) makes. You do a lot that you are unrecognized for.. Army Reserve families suffer in a way different from active duty Soldiers because some hometowns do not have that military infrastructure to fall back on when Soldiers have to leave. That is changing, but I applaud these Soldiers,” said Ellis. “There is a quote from Winston Churchill, former prime minister of United Kingdom, where he referred to Reserve Soldiers as twice the citizen. He was complimenting them on their successes in World War II. Never more than today is that true. You’re twice the citizen which receives twice the hooah!”