Fort celebrates 238th Army birthday
SIERRA VISTA— Friday was a special day for any member of the U.S. Army but Spc. Shinece Canady’s experience likely takes the cake.
“It’s a great day. Not only is it the Army’s birthday but it’s the day that I reenlisted,” Canady said.
She also made the birthday cake served to her fellow members of the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) at the Thunderbird Dining Facility, a duty that required several early mornings of meticulous decorating for the novice cake-maker.
“I really love the Army,” she said. “I get to do two of my passions at the same time, cook and serve my country.”
Lt. Col. Andrew McClelland, commander of the 40th ESB, said it was a pleasure attending Canady’s reenlistment and it is “truly reflective of the future of the Army.”
On the 238th birthday of the Army, McClelland thought it was very fitting to pay tribute at the dining facility, in the midst of individuals who make up the great organization.
“It’s truly reflective of all America’s sons and daughters that are serving every single day to make this the best Army in the world,” he said.
McClelland was joined by the battalion’s oldest and youngest soldiers to cut the ceremonial birthday cake with a saber from the 1800s, slashing it in half with a quick, forceful stroke.
“This is an honor because I really just joined recently,” Pfc. William Willingham said. The 19-year-old, who has been at Fort Huachuca for about four months, found out he would be part of the ceremony just that morning.
The oldest soldier, 52-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Calvin, also said it was an honor. It makes him think about history and about what the military has given to him, he said. He returned to active duty about six years ago, after a 12 year break.
Calvin comes from a military family, his father is retired military, all four of his brothers are veterans and his own son is serving in the U.S. Air Force in Turkey, he said. “Throughout the family we just kind of feel like it’s our duty.”
Being in an a military family involves a lot of moving but is very rewarding, Calvin said. “You tend to be a well-rounded person because you constantly move so you meet new people.”
In addition to Friday’s celebratory lunch, fort personnel participated in a U.S. Army Birthday Run that morning. At the event, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commander of the Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, highlighted the unique dedication of the soldiers serving in the Army today.
“The men and women serving today are members of a generation that saw our nation attacked and elected to be part of the military knowing they would deploy to war,” Ashley said. “And when the call came you never wavered, you never questioned, and today you stand quietly among the generations that have gone before you.”
There are linked to the generations who served before them, storming the beaches at Normandy, trekking through the jungles of Vietnam, and parachuting into Panama, Ashley said.
“You stand recognized across the globe as the most professional and most feared fighting force on the planet and at the same time, the most compassionate Army in the world,” he said.
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