April 30, 2015 –
FORT BLISS, Texas--Reserve Soldiers currently on orders at Fort Bliss celebrated the 107th birthday of the Reserves April 23, during the lunch service at the Maj. Chester Garret Dining Facility on McGregor Range, N.M. Reservists, Guardsmen, and others training at McGregor Range enjoyed a piece of birthday cake in celebration of the USAR Birthday.
On April 23, 1908, the Army Reserve Corps of Medical Officers was created with 160 physicians; 107 years later, there are more than 200,000 Reservists in more than 148 fields that may be called to action when their country requires their service.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jane Baldwin, command sergeant major, 2206th Mobilization Support Battalion, coordinated the celebration and said a few words before helping cut the cake and distribute slices to service members. Baldwin coordinated with the dining facility staff and Sylvia Reyes, a dining facility civilian, baked the cake and decorated it by hand.
Partaking in the ceremonial cutting of the cake were Lt. Col. Bradford M. Shaw, commander of 2206th MSB, Master Sgt. Lorenzo Sifuentes, the oldest Soldier, SPC Brandon Lievense, the youngest Soldier, and Baldwin.
“You always bring the youngest and the oldest Soldier, that’s tradition,” said Baldwin. “The youngest Soldier represents the future. The oldest Soldier represents all the experience and knowledge that the mentor will pass on to the future of the Army Reserve, to leave the organization with experience and help develop them into the next leaders.”
For Lievense, service in the U.S. Army Reserve has been a life-long goal. ”I’ve always wanted to join the Army ever since I was little. My dad, my grandfather, my great-grandfather were all military,” said the fourth-generation Soldier.
For Sifuentes, who has deployed twice to Iraq and turns 56 this year, representing the oldest Soldier has become the norm. “Every year I get picked for this, the oldest in the Army Reserve. I have been in the Army Reserve for 37 years and it is still an honor,” he said.
The yellow and black decorated cake, had a star with 107 in it and read “Army Reserve 2X Citizen” a reference to the Twice the Citizen motto of the Reserves, a motto that proves true for Reserve Soldiers while in, and out, of uniform.
The U.S. Army Reserve provides the opportunity for citizens to hold a non-military job or career while at the same time allowing them the opportunity to serve our country. The benefits both cultures provide make for a better Soldier and citizen because the skills they acquire can apply to both professions.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction, because you have your civilian job and skills and then you also have your (military) service that you provide,” said Baldwin, ”and so if you are mobilized or deployed, you not only bring your military skills, but you also bring your civilian skill set, which can be a great asset.”