29 June 2016
Fort Detrick Celebrates the Army’s 241st Birthday
Jenni Benson, USAG Public Affairs

Fort Detrick celebrated the Army’s 241st Birthday June 14 on Blue and Gray Field during a ceremony that included leadership from across the installation and distinguished guests including Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement.

Fort Detrick Chaplain Lt. Col. Michael Jeffries spoke about the history of the Chaplain Corps and the significance of celebrating the Army Birthday.

“There is a uniqueness to the Army Birthday that comes along for the Chaplain Corps because it was about a month and a half later, in the beginning of our Nation, that the Chaplain Corps began on July 29, 1775; when General Washington called up the first chaplain to come and serve alongside his men as they formed the very foundation of our Nation,” said Jeffries.

“Celebrating the Army Birthday and the anniversary of the Chaplains Corps becomes sweeter to me each and every year. Realizing that the chaplains have stood with the Army since 1775 providing encouragement, providing hope and at times providing meaning in all that the Army is called up to serve and respond to. Being a part of that tradition is such a wonderful and proud moment for me as I’m sure it is with all who serve.”

Jeffries continued, “As we celebrate this 241st birthday of the United States Army, let it be a time of remembering our history, remembering our foundation, remembering those who have gone before us and may this celebration serve as a time for inspiration, energy and momentum as we continue to serve our Nation.”

During his comments, Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein, commander of the U. S. Army Medical and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick, asked current and former Soldiers to stand and be recognized.

“When we take our oath, we don’t take an oath to a person or a government, we take an oath to the Constitution of the United States and everything that this flag represents,” said Lein. “The flag represents freedom and liberty, that’s who we are and that’s why we wear the uniform. The American flag, the Army flag mean a lot to every single Soldier out there.”

Lein then addressed both the oldest and the youngest Soldiers assigned to Fort Detrick.

“When you think of the Army, the centerpiece is not a tank or helicopter or piece of equipment, the centerpiece of our Army is our Soldier; they are the tip of the spear, and today we have both our youngest Soldier, Pfc. Samuel Drolet, and our most experienced Soldier, Col. Neal Woollen, assigned to Fort Detrick, with us today,” said Lein.

Addressing Drolet individually, Lein continued, “Our goal is that you never have to go to war, but our mission is to make sure that you and the generations that follow you are ready for any potential conflicts. That’s our responsibility.”

Lein and Command Sgt. Maj. David Rogers, command sergeant major for the USAMRMC and Fort Detrick, concluded the ceremony with the cutting of the Army birthday cake alongside Drolet and Woollen.

For more information on the history of the United States Army, visit: https://www.army.mil/birthday/.
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