Westphal celebrates Army birthday with wounded warriors at USO 

8/1/2013 

 
Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal speaks at the Army birthday cake-cutting at the USO on Fort Belvoir, Va., with the commander of Fort Belvoir, Col. Gregory Gadson, seen on the left. (Photo Credit: Lisa Ferdinando, ARNEWS)

Lisa Ferdinando
Army News Service

Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal celebrated the Army’s 238th birthday with a cake-cutting and a tribute to wounded warriors.

Westphal spent time with injured service members, Army families and volunteers during an Army birthday celebration and barbeque at the USO Warrior and Family Care Center at Fort Belvoir, Va.

He cut an Army birthday cake with Col. Gregory Gadson, Fort Belvoir commander, and Elaine Rogers, president and CEO of the USO of Metropolitan Washington.

America is proud of those who serve, Westphal said to attendees, which included a World War II Marine veteran, children, active duty soldiers, wounded warriors, spouses, families and volunteers.

Westphal said that among America’s most precious resources are the men and women who are willing to risk their lives to defend and support the U.S. Constitution, as they have done now for more than 200 years.

He also paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of wounded warriors, some of the most resilient soldiers in the Army.

"Every time we have an opportunity to be with them – even if you don’t talk to them, even if you don’t get to know them – just their presence around you is inspiring," Westphal said.

Adding, "It benefits us all to know that there are such people who are willing to put their lives on the line, who have families, and who are willing to make incredible sacrifices for the rest of us for our values."

Rogers said the event was a wonderful way to thank the men and women who have served, their families and those who support them, as well as the many volunteers who support the USO.

"It’s such an honor to be able to work with our military personnel and their families every day," she said.

The family event included a live band, games, and a barbeque meal donated from a restaurant in Cincinnati, the Montgomery Inn.

Dean Gregory, whose family-owned restaurant donated the barbeque, flew in from Ohio to be a part of the event.

"That’s why we come," he said, seeing the wounded warriors and their families laugh, talk and enjoy a meal together.

"It’s just our way of saying ‘thanks’ for the sacrifice they’ve made for us and for our country," he added.