DEOMI - Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
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DEOMI students, staff pay tribute to Army’s 234th birthday during ceremony

By Bryan Ripple
DEOMI Public Affairs Officer

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. .--The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), celebrated the U.S. Army’s 234th birthday during a June 12 ceremony here with nearly 200 people in attendance.

In recognition of their commitment to service and willingness to make great sacrifices on behalf of our nation, The Secretary of the Army established 2009 as “The Year of the NCO.” This theme was highlighted throughout DEOMI’s observance of the Army’s 234th birthday through the words of the guest speaker for the program, Army Lieutenant Colonel Timothy R. Thomas, Director of Equal Opportunity Training at DEOMI.

“In today’s asymmetrical battlefield, the good working relationship between the officer and NCO is even more vital to the success of the mission. The role of the NCO to advise the commander on training and equipment needed for soldiers to fight and win on the battlefield is critical for mission success. Just as important is the advice NCOs provide to their commander on ways to improve the quality of life for Soldiers and their families,” said Colonel Thomas.

Two hundred and thirty-four years ago, the Army was established to defend the United States. From the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terror, the nation’s Soldiers remain Army Strong with a deep commitment to the Army’s core values and beliefs. This 234th birthday commemorates America’s Army – Soldiers, families and civilians – who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army Strong both here and abroad.

Army Master Sgt. Alexis Ruiz, DEOMI Equal Opportunity instructor, joined the Army when he was 18 and was searching for a way to be successful. That was 22 years ago, and now the career Soldier reflects back on his service with fond memories.

“I was looking for a way to get off the island [Vieques, Puerto Rico], and do something good with my life. The Army is a lot more than just kicking down doors as I’ve learned, said Sergeant Ruiz, an infantryman by trade. It’s given me a career and a really good education. I will soon graduate from St. Joseph’s University in Maine with a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration, and then my daughter and I will be the only two people in my direct family to graduate from college, said Sergeant Ruiz.

With more than 200 years of service, the U.S. Army’s Noncommissioned Officer Corps has distinguished itself as the world’s most accomplished group of military professionals. Historical and daily accounts of “life as an NCO” are exemplified by acts of courage, and a dedication and a willingness to do “whatever it takes” to complete the mission. NCOs have been celebrated for decorated service in military events ranging from Valley Forge to Gettysburg, to charges on Omaha Beach and battles along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Photo of: DEOMI Staff Members gather for Army's 234th Birthday Observance
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Several DEOMI Army staff members gathered for a Army staff photo in honor of the Army's 234th birthday during an observance of that historic event June 12 at DEOMI. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)

Photo of: C2C Martin with CAPT Contres and Mr. Scarpate at DEOMI
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- C2C Wayne Martin, a West Point Cadet, greets CAPT Kathlene Contres, DEOMI Commandant, and Mr. Jerry Scarpate, DEOMI Deputy Director of
Research after the DEOMI Army Birthday celebration here June 12. Cadet Martin and C1C Susie Burks recently spent three weeks at DEOMI utilizing library resources to reference list for a study concerning the history of integration in the U.S. Army. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)

Photo of: Reporter interviewing MSG Ruiz about Army's 234th Birthday Celebration at DEOMI
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Army Master Sergeant Alexis Ruiz, DEOMI Equal Opportunity Instructor, is interviewed by Central Florida News Channel 13 reporter Margaret Kavanagh June 12 as part of the DEOMI observance of the Army's 234th birthday. Sergeant Ruiz spoke of what it means to be a Soldier in today's Army. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)

Photo of: Presentation to Lt Col Thomas by MSG Nieto
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Army Master Sgt. Pedro Nieto, DEOMI Equal Opportunity Instructor, presents Army Lt. Col. Timothy R. Thomas, DEOMI Director of Equal Opportunity training, with a framed copy of the Soldier's Creed in honor of his participation as the DEOMI keynote speaker during the June 12 celebration of the Army's 234th birthday. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)

Photo of: Cutting of the cake by youngest and oldest Soldier present
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --Traditionally, the Army's birthday is observed with a cake cutting ceremony by the youngest and oldest Soldier present, which signifies the development of the Army since June 14, 1775. Here Master Sgt. Celetia Carroll and Staff Sergeant Brian Whittle, assist Lt. Col. Timothy R. Thomas, DEOMI Director of Equal Opportunity training in cutting the Army's birthday cake during DEOMI's June 12 observance of the Army's 234th birthday. (DEOMI Photo/Mr. Bryan Ripple)

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