By Story by Staff Sgt. Matthew Britton
U.S. Army Central
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – United States Army Central celebrated the U.S. Army’s 245th birthday with an observance in the command’s headquarters, Patton Hall.
While maintaining all COVID-19 guidelines, USARCENT members observed reenactments of Medal of Honor recipients performed by headquarters Soldiers, listened to personal stories that highlighted the significance of diversity, and watched the command team cut the celebration cake.
Due to the COID-19 pandemic, seating was limited to a few dozen Soldiers to maintain six feet of separation. A live digital stream was provided to those who could not attend, but wanted to participate virtually.
“The Army traces its history to the colonial militias, the precursor to today’s Army National Guard,” said Michael Clauss, USARCENT command historian. “Citizens from all walks of life answering the call to protect their homes and families began a heritage of selfless service and sacrifice that continues today.”
This year’s theme centered on the Medal of Honor and its rich history.
“The pinnacle of individual heroism and valor is the Medal of Honor,” said Clauss. “Established during the Civil War, just over 3500 medals have been awarded, 2450 in the Army. Ordinary Soldiers from all backgrounds and across the United States, performing acts of unbelievable valor in the defense of our nation.”
USARCENT Soldiers volunteered to reenact Medal of Honor recipients during the observance to show homage to those who displayed incredible acts of valor in service to our nation.
Below is a passage performed by one of the reenactors in a full era appropriate uniform.
“I am Staff Sergeant James Bondsteele. I was a Platoon Sergeant in the Big Red One in Vietnam. My company was called out to assist a unit under intense enemy fire. While in the attack, I personally took out several enemy bunkers then raced over to one of the other platoons as it began to falter. I refused evacuation after I was wounded by a grenade. When my company was relieved, I had personally destroyed 10 enemy bunkers and save one of our wounded officers. For my actions, I was awarded the Medal of Honor.”
The observance concluded with a cake cutting by the USARCENT command team, Lt. Gen. Terry Ferrell and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Hester, who were also accompanied by the youngest and oldest headquarters Soldiers.
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION