CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. – Members of the 211th Military Police Battalion assembled to celebrate the Army’s 236th birthday with an award ceremony at Tactical Training Base Kelly here, June 14, 2011.
Soldiers gathered for the presentation of awards that included noncommissioned officer of the year; several training accomplishment awards for outstanding leadership and mission related accomplishments; and morale and welfare improvement.
“It was a great opportunity to celebrate the battalion’s work on the Army’s birthday,” said Lt. Col. Brett Conaway, a Natick, Mass., native who serves as the 211th Military Police Battalion commander.
The battalion’s ceremony followed several days of state active duty in response to the recent tornados that ravaged 17 western Massachusetts communities, and the unit’s period of annual training from which most of the awards were earned.
The award ceremony was followed by the cutting of a cake in celebration of the Army’s birthday, where two battalion Soldiers were asked to make the cake’s first cuts.
“We had a ceremony, it’s the Army’s birthday,” said Pvt. Corey J. Latour, a 19 year-old military policeman with the 747 Military Police. “They took the oldest in the battalion, and the youngest, and I was chosen to go in front of the battalion and cut the first slice of the cake.”
The oldest member of the battalion was Chief Warrant Officer 4 Fred W. Guldbrandsen, a 58-and-a –half –year-old Wakefield, NH., native who serves as a recruiting assistant.
“It was the Army’s birthday and Flag day so it was fitting we’d have it here… to have our end of cycle on this day, on the Army’s birthday is a really good thing, very patriotic,” said Guldbrandsen. “I think it helps the Soldiers understand what they’re a part of. Everybody knows they’re in the Army, but you don’t always get to celebrate it, to the degree we were able to tonight,”said Conaway.