Command Sergeant Major Larry W. Gammon
Oh, what a week it was! That’s the response echoed by soldiers, civilians and family members alike after Regimental Week 2000 in June. Regimental Week 2000 marked the 225th anniversary of the founding of the Continental Army as well as the establishment of the Quartermaster Corps. On 14 June 1775 the Continental Congress authorized the creation of a militia to protect and defend a fledgling society of colonists seeking freedom and independence from Great Britain’s rule. The Continental Congress chose George Washington as the first Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed Army. Just two days later, on 16 June 1775, Washington (recognizing the need to feed, move and clothe his soldiers) selected Major Thomas Mifflin as the first Quartermaster General, responsible for supplying and moving the Army.
The Regimental Week theme at Fort Lee, VA, was Creating Quartermasters for America’s Army, which many leaders believe is the heart and soul of our Corps. The week’s events showcased senior leadership, as well as the young soldiers who make up the future of our Quartermaster Corps. The US Army Quartermaster Center and School (USAQMC&S) is recognized as one of the finest training institutions in the Army.
The emphasis throughout Regimental Week was on fostering pride and esprit de corps. Why do I say that? Well, I guess you just had to be there. You had to be sitting at the East End of Williams Stadium, surrounded by bleachers filled with soldiers of every rank, listening attentively while the history of the Army’s battles was read and as each of the streamers was attached to the Army flag. Or maybe you had to participate in the first 3-mile leg of the 225-mile Quartermaster Birthday Run on Monday - in 90-degree heat and equally oppressive humidity. Then, as you complete your leg and hand off the guidon to the next group of runners, you get a gleam in your eyes because of what you just accomplished and what it means being a Quartermaster soldier.
It just doesn’t get any better than that. If that doesn’t get your heart pumping a little faster, I don’t know what will. The run continued nonstop for three days - around the clock, rain or shine - until the 225-mile mark was reached.
13 June 2000
Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) from the Quartermaster Corps NCO Academy conducted the Army Streamer Ceremony. As the announcer read an abbreviated history of each battle where a streamer was earned, a student from the NCO Academy carried the streamer on stage and affixed it to the Army flag. That was an awe-inspiring sight. The evening concluded with the cutting of the Army birthday cake by the US Army Combined Arms Support Command (USACASCOM) Commander LTG Billy K. Solomon, and USACASCOM Command Sergeant Major Howard Rathmann and the cutting of the Quartermaster Corps birthday cake by The Quartermaster General and myself. The four leaders also led the crowd with a rendition of Happy Birthday as they made the first cut of the birthday cakes.
14 June 2000
15 June 2000
The NCO Academy was appropriate for the change of responsibility ceremony between CSM (Retired) Oscar Patton and CSM (Retired) Milton Hazzard. CSM Patton relinquished his title as Honorary Sergeant Major of the Quartermaster Regiment to CSM Hazzard. Both men are ardent supporters of the Quartermaster Corps and mentors to our young NCOs.
On Thursday morning, the conference attendees had an opportunity to review several pieces of equipment projected for use during our Logistics Transformation era. A team from the Directorate of Combat Developments-Quartermaster at Fort Lee presented an overview of several initiatives designed to enhance warfighting in the 21st Century while supporting the Initial Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). Afterward, the conferees were treated to samples of operational rations available for today’s soldiers.
At the Regimental Honors dinner on Thursday evening, 20 new members were added as Distinguished Members of the Regiment. Six units were added as Distinguished Units of the Regiment.
The last major event was the Regimental Ball and Founders Day Dinner on Friday evening with more than 500 guests. They heard an inspirational speech by the guest speaker, MG Charles E. Mahan Jr., and also saw a slide tribute to MG (Deceased) James M. Wright, the 45th Quartermaster General. The crowd witnessed LTG (Retired) Arthur J. Gregg’s induction as only the fourth member of the Ancient Order of Saint Martin, the highest honor of the Association of Quartermasters. Guests also applauded the unveiling of the Order of Catherine Greene – a new Regimental program aimed at recognizing the many contributions of Quartermaster spouses.
What a great ending to such a great week. The USAQMC&S team of professionals made this a week to remember. Proud to be Quartermaster!