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NEWS | April 29, 2013

Army Reserve birthday, Afghanistan style

By Sgt. Phillip Valentine 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Soldiers at Kandahar Airfield received a visit from the Chief of Army Reserve, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, April 26, to help celebrate the 105th birthday of the Army Reserve during a two-day visit. 

The senior leader of the Army Reserve was joined by Command Sgt. Maj. James Lambert, senior enlisted leader of the Army Reserve and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Phyllis Wilson, command chief warrant officer of the Army Reserve . The distinguished group was met at the airfield by the commander of 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Brig. Gen. Scottie D. Carpenter and several members of the 311th and after pleasantries were exchanged, they made their way to the Liberty Center, to celebrate the birthday with a mass reenlistment ceremony and a cookout. 

Opening remarks were made by commanders and several Reserve soldiers raised their right hand and made the oath of enlistment presided over by Talley. He took the time after to congratulate each soldier and shook their hands. 

“I think it was amazing, it made me proud to serve my country,” said San Francisco native and 311th ESC soldier, Cpl. Erik Johnson, who made the oath along with fellow Soldiers. “For someone so important to take the time and visit us in Afghanistan is incredible. I appreciated his time and his words of wisdom.”

Once the reenlistments were complete, Talley posed with soldiers during a photo opportunity while barbecue grills were fired up. The senior leaders sat down and shared a meal with Soldiers and listened to their stories. At the end of the evening, the crowd dispersed for the evening and readied themselves for the next day’s festivities. 

An early morning 5K run commemorating the 105th birthday began the second day of celebration. Talley led the way off the starting line and service members and civilians alike bolted down the designated route.

“It was a great morning to gather to celebrate another birthday with my Army Family and the Chief of the Army Reserve,” said Littletown, Pa., native, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nena Crabbs assigned to the 311th ESC.  “The 311th ESC was definitely running Army Strong. Some things just keep getting better with age!”

Immediately following the race, soldiers had to the opportunity to ask the CAR questions during a town hall meeting. He discussed current issues impacting the Army Reserve and what the future has in store for its soldiers. 

“I want you to be an Army Reserve soldier for life, but I want you to do what is good for you and your family,” said Talley. He also said that a strong civilian life makes for a better soldier.

“I need leaders that are also entrepreneurs. To make a difference in the Army community and the economy,” he said. “You’ve got to be a leader in your community as well.”

Talley visited the 311th compound after the town hall meeting where he was briefed on 311th operations and also gave coins to soldiers who were nominated by the command for their outstanding service.