Pittard Discusses Future of Fort Bliss During State of Military
Headquarters, Fort Bliss:
Pictures of Fort Bliss and its Soldiers flashed on projectors throughout the room as the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss commanding general spoke to the audience.
“The future of the Army is here at Fort Bliss and El Paso,” Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard said at the annual State of the Military luncheon Aug. 3 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center.
The future of the Army was the theme of the luncheon as the progress and future of Fort Bliss were presented to citizens of El Paso, key leaders and Soldiers during the luncheon.
The progress of William Beaumont Army Medical Center, the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, 93rd Military Police Battalion, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, 5th Armored Brigade, and Joint Task Force North were just a few of the many areas highlighted in the address.
“As many of you know, Fort Bliss is nearly complete with the largest expansion of any Army post since World War II,” said Pittard. “We are working towards becoming the largest mobilization center in the Army. We are training, testing, deploying and we are leading the Army in innovation.
“On August 12th we will break ground on the construction of the new $1.4 billion William Beaumont hospital campus that will support a beneficiary population of over 90,000,” he continued.
“The best description of Fort Bliss is that we have the newest, biggest and best of everything,” said Pittard. “Now I know by now it sounds like I’m just bragging, but as the Texas saying goes … it isn’t bragging if it’s true.”
Pittard then recognized the citizens of El Paso for their continuous support of Fort Bliss.
“I know there are so many El Pasoans going above and beyond for our team and I can’t tell you what this kind of continued support means to our installation,” said Pittard.
Pittard also recognized two Soldiers that had a special invitation to the luncheon.
Staff Sgt. Allan Roy D. Froa, a team leader in the 47th Transportation Company, 15th Sustainment Brigade, was recognized for his resilience.
In December 2007, Froa was on a route-clearance mission in Iraq when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. The explosion caused him to suffer mild traumatic brain injury. He earned a Purple Heart.
“Staff Sergeant Froa has bounced back and we are proud of him,” said Pittard.
Sgt. Gary Shuler, a team leader in the Fuel Platoon of A Company, 501st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, was recognized for his outstanding leadership.
On July 28, one of Shuler’s Soldiers, Pfc. Denray E. Plummer, was in a combatives training accident in which he fractured the sixth vertebra of his neck. Schuler immediately reacted as the first responder and stayed with Plummer throughout the night.
“Sergeant Shuler is an outstanding example of why our NCO Corps is the best in the world,” said Pittard.
They both received a round of applause for their dedication to the Army and their country.
Other awards at the luncheon included the Soldier of the Year award given to Spc. David Fahy, the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Staff Sgt. Leticia Gallegos, and the Citizen of the Year Diana Natalicio, president of the University of Texas at El Paso.
As this year’s State of the Military came to a close, Pittard had one final message.
The uniform has served as a symbol of freedom, especially in the last 10 years, representing the strongest nation in the world, Pittard said as he ended the luncheon. “What I hope you will also see when you look at a Soldier in uniform is that they are a member of the greatest team on earth, Team Bliss, the future of the Army!”