Team APG celebrates Army Birthday

Former APG Garrison Commander Col. James Davis, center, and CECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew McCoy, left, lead the Army Birthday Run formation that celebrated the Army Birthday and Flag Day June 14. | U.S. Army photo by Yvonne Johnson, APG News

Team APG honored the past, present and future during a celebration of the 242nd birthday of the U.S. Army at Fanshaw Field June 14.

The day featured the annual Army Birthday Run of APG units; organization and equipment displays; and an official ceremony hosted by the Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T, that drew local leaders, community members, and APG Soldiers, civilians and family members.

Army Birthday Run and cake-cutting

The annual Army Birthday Run kicked off the celebration just after Reveille at 6:30 a.m. Soldiers, civilians and family members participated in the morale-building 3-mile run that began and ended at Fanshaw Field.

Former APG Garrison Commander Col. James Davis, top, and CECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew McCoy, right, look on as the youngest participants in the Army Birthday Run, from left, Pvt. Haker Apolinaris, 18; Pfc. Jodee Clark, 18; Jordan Conway, 17 and Angelique Rivera, 11, cut the Army Birthday cake at Fanshaw Field at the conclusion of the run June 14. | U.S. Army photo by Yvonne Johnson

Directorate of Emergency Services police units escorted the formation and controlled morning commuters as the mass formation of cadence callers and swaying guidons moved along the APG roadways. In addition, DES firefighters hoisted a giant U.S. flag over the field in recognition of Flag Day, which is also celebrated June 14.

Leading the way was then-APG Garrison Commander, Col. James Davis, Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia. Jr. and Installation Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew McCoy of the Communications-Electronics Command, or CECOM. Participating units included the HHC Garrison; PEO C3T; the Army Test and Evaluation Command; Public Health Center; Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic; and the 3rd Air Defense Artillery (JLENS).

The runners re-gathered at Fanshaw Field for the traditional cutting of the Army Birthday Cake. Leaders thanked the units and expressed appreciation of the camaraderie-building Army traditions. They sang an enthusiastic rendition of the Army Song prior to the cake cutting.

“At APG we might not be strong in numbers [of uniformed service members], but we show up.” Tia shouted, and received a mighty “Hooah” in response.

McCoy called the event “motivational.”

“We don’t get to do formations like this a lot so it’s motivating for us to mark the legacy of our Army history and the Army Birthday … and as the APG centennial.”

“These runs are all about unit integrity, morale and cohesion,” added Col. William Sheehy, PEO C3T chief of Staff. “Soldiers and civilians running together show a focused effort to the United States of America. When we’re all together, in step, as one formation, it’s symbolic of what we’re doing as an Army and a nation. Moving forward with progression; that’s what it takes to have an Army and a nation as strong as ours.”

Opening ceremony

Mary Woods, Deputy Program Executive Officer C3T, welcomed attendees to the midday ceremony, officially kicking off a series of speakers, live music, displays and vendors. This year’s Army Birthday celebration is special, Woods said, because it coincides with the World War I Centennial.

“[World War I] served as a catalyst to our becoming the world’s most adaptive and competent land force in history,” she said.

Noting that APG is also celebrating its Centennial this year, she added, “I encourage you and your families to partake in the many Centennial activities both on and off post, which will take place through this fall.”

Vietnam veteran David Yensan served as the keynote speaker. Yensan discussed the critical role APG plays as Harford County’s largest employer, and the significant impact of World War I.

“World War I saw the addition of modern artillery, widespread use of machine guns, poison gas, tanks and aircraft,” he said. “I guess you could think of it as the introduction to modern warfare. With the exception of Antarctica, all the continents were involved in some way. The world was truly at war for the first time.”

Continuing the Army legacy

Yensan said each person in the audience contributes to the rich history of the Army.

“Every man and woman here today has played a part in creating our legacy,” he said. “Every one of us can tell a story of great failures and great successes involving the Army. But every failure and every success has made us stronger and wiser. The beauty of this great institution is it can take each of us, with our inexperience, flaws, warts and errors and turn us into something better, creating our Army.”

Sgt. Niurka Lopez, with the 203D Military Intelligence Battalion (Technical Intelligence), demonstrates how to lift fingerprints using florescent powder for Erin Gealy, 14, (center) and Megan Gealy, 9, during Team APG’s Army Birthday celebration on Fanshaw Field June, 14, 2017. |U.S. Army photo by Rachel Ponder, APG News

The ceremony included the national anthem sung by Karena Evans, of PEO C3T. Robert Zell, also from PEO C3T, performed the patriotic song “Over There,” which was popular during World War I and World War II.

Birthday festivities

After the ceremony, several APG organizations presented demonstrations showcasing their latest technologies. Attendees ate lunch from food trucks and listened to live music from the local band “Chasing Friday,” featuring lead singer Tony Hale of the Garrison’s Directorate of Public Works.

Military working dog Jozo ‘attacks’ volunteer Col. William Sheehy, PEO C3T chief of staff, under the direction of his handler, Sgt. Nicholas Vertz, a police officer with the APG Directorate of Emergency Services’ K-9 section, during a demonstration at Team APG’s Army Birthday celebration on Fanshaw Field June 14, 2017.

Bagpiper Phil Penne, a CECOM contractor, also performed several songs including a rendition of the Army song.

“I often play outside on my lunch break,” said Penne, who performs with the “Highlanders,” a Boumi Shriners organization.

Yamileth Horwitz, a military spouse, attended the event with her two daughters.

“It’s a tradition,” she said about attending the annual event. “It’s important that we are aware of everything the Army has done for our country.”

Co-organizer MaryJo Span, with PEO C3T, thanked the community for supporting the event.

“It was great to see our local government and our community members of all ages enjoying the exhibits, displays, food trucks and entertainment,” she said. “We would like to thank all who came out to celebrate.”


Story by Rachel Ponder  and Yvonne Johnson, APG News

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