Fort Wainwright soldiers celebrate Army’s 245th Birthday
The U.S. Army will celebrate its 245th Birthday on Sunday, June 14. Soldiers on Fort Wainwright celebrated this week with traditions such as a 2.45-mile birthday run.
“The Army’s birthday is steeped in tradition; we celebrate it, of course, every year. It just allows the newer soldiers a sense of identity, joining the Army and basically supporting the nation and their country,” said Sergeant Major Bryan Pritchett, Task Force Reserve Sergeant Major.
Pritchett has served in the Army for 25 years and says it has been a great experience. “It’s been a challenge throughout my time, different periods of my time but overall it’s a great experience,” said Pritchett.
He says the Army has taken him all over the world. “The Army has taken me to Europe several times, it’s taken me to Asia, and it’s taken me to the Eastern Bloc countries of old USSR., things of that nature,” said Pritchett.
Pritchett says he has been stationed in Alaska for two years. “It’s a great environment for outdoorsmen, it would be a challenge for soldiers that aren’t outdoors, but I think they will find great opportunities here in Alaska,” said Pritchett.
One of the Army birthday traditions is having the oldest and youngest soldiers there use an Army saber to cut the cake together.
Luis Alvarez, the youngest soldier present, at 19, was selected to help with the tradition.
“The Army is just getting older, and honestly I feel like it’s important to have the Army, without it who knows what would happen,” said Alvarez.
As a culinary specialist, Alvarez helps feed fellow soldiers at the dining facility.
“Me, personally, I’ve had an amazing experience joining the Army and just being in it. It’s not exactly how I pictured it would be but just helping me better my life honestly,” said Alvarez.
He has been stationed in Alaska for six months. “I’ve had an amazing experience up here in Alaska, there’s so much to do, especially outdoors. I mean being from Texas, I have never really seen real snow, like how it is here, I’ve never experienced negative temperatures, so it’s an amazing experience, it’s beautiful,” said Alvarez.
Alvarez says to him, the Army means opportunity. “If I didn’t join the Army, I don’t know what I would be doing right now. Because I wasn’t going to go to college but being here makes me think about going to college and taking advantage of the tuition assistance that the Army provides,” said Alvarez.