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NEWS | May 26, 2016

Milwaukee celebrates Armed Forces Day like few others

By Spc. Brianna Saville 416th Theater Engineer Command

Milwaukee makes a special effort to bring awareness for Armed Forces Day by turning it into Armed Forces Week and with joint effort of Milwaukee Armed Services committee and Milwaukee residents and they were able to reach their goal this year to become the largest Armed Forces Day celebration in the United States. 

Armed Forces Day was first observed May 20, 1950, replacing the separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days bringing recognition to one day for all branches. 

The 482nd Engineer Detachment (Firefighting), 416th Theater Engineer Command, soldiers brought out an M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Truck and an assortment of their personal fire fighting gear to share with the citizens. 

Visitors were given access of the truck to learn how some the switches work. They also had the opportunity to toss on some gear. Another unique and exciting part for some was having the opportunity to spray the fire hose. 

“It’s very exciting to be able to give a glance into some of the work we do. We don’t get to many opportunities to do that,” said  Sgt. Brandon Kutz, 482nd Engineer Detachment, Sturtevant, Wisconsin.

This year’s Armed Forces Day celebration took place on May 21 at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A few of the participates included soldiers 482nd Engineer Detachment, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, 372nd Engineer Detachment, Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and members of the American Legion Riders of Wisconsin.

372nd Engineer Detachment brought out their M1157 10-ton dump truck and a trailer featuring other construction equipment. Visitors were able to take a tour of the vehicles and operate some of the controls. 

“My son’s favorite is the excavator so far. All of the troops are so friendly and knowledgeable about their equipment. It’s a pretty cool event, especially for the children,” said David Hannah, an event attendee.

American Legion Riders of Wisconsin were responsible for the main event of the day, The 13th Annual Support the Troops Ride. Members of the troop make up of veterans from every branch of the military. The riders met at Hal’s Harley Davidson and were escorted by Milwaukee Police to the Harley Davidson Museum. 

More than 500 motorcycles were in attendance for this year’s event. 

“Our Support the Troop Ride is one of my favorites. We always have a big turn out and we get to engage with the public the most at this particular event because of course everyone wonders why there are so many motorcycles,” said Mike Shcufer, a Vietnam veteran and a member off the American Legion Riders of Wisconsin.

The citizens of Milwaukee and surrounding areas understand the importance of the role that the military plays in their community. With the help of 482nd Engineer Detachment, The American Legion Riders of Wisconsin and a few other participates this year’s Armed Forces Day was overall an amazing experience.