Fort McCoy News June 26, 2015

Fort McCoy celebrates Army's 240th birthday

BY AIMEE MALONE
Public Affairs Staff

The Fort McCoy community celebrated the 240th birthday of the U.S. Army throughout the day June 12.

Photo 1
Garrison Commander Col. Steven
W. Nott speaks to Fort McCoy
community members about the
Army's birthday.
Photo by Liz
Weaver.

The highlight of the day was the Army birthday ceremony at Constitution Park. Several hundred attended the event, which included a free lunch and a cake-cutting ceremony.

The 484th Army Band of Milwaukee performed the national anthem and played live music throughout lunch. Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott greeted the crowd and recounted the Army's early history.

After months of clashes between the colony militias and the British army, "it was clear that the colonies were now in full rebellion, and the second Continental Congress realized that if the colonies were to succeed, they must establish a more-professional Army with a centralized chain of command," Nott said. "Like today, the Continental Army relied upon an all-volunteer force, and, as then, our Army recognizes that its strength comes from its Soldiers.

"(In) 1775, we began a journey that would result in the best-equipped and trained military in the world," Nott said. "Our Soldiers are the most-crucial element of our national security and our strategic success, and we still rely upon a healthy dose of rugged individualism, clarity of moral purpose, and acknowledgement of American exceptionalism and our unique way of life if we are to secure freedom for future generations."

Nott called Patti Lokken, advisory board chairman at Operation Homefront of Central Midwest, to the front to give her the Patriotic Civilian Service Certificate in honor of her efforts to support veterans and provide Soldiers with unique opportunities. Lokken and Spc. Jacob Lepien of the 484th Army Band then helped cut the cake to start the celebration.

Sgt. Antonio Oblitas of the 13th Battalion, 100th Regiment, came out with a group of fellow Soldiers for the cake cutting and lunch. "It's good the Army promotes these events," he said. "It gives (us) a sense of unity."

Events started in the morning with the Commander's 5K run at Rumpel Fitness Center and a drive-thru breakfast at McCoy's Community Club. Child, Youth and School Services hosted carnival games. Free bowling and car washes were offered throughout the afternoon.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation organizes annual celebrations of the Army's birthday. For more information about the event, call 608-388-3200.

For additional photographs of Army birthday events, click here.