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The year started off with radio personality and former NAACP executive Joe Madison coming to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Jan. 11 to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King the week before the holiday named in King’s honor.

“Don’t look at Monday as a day to shop at Macy’s or at Pentagon City or the chance to stay in bed the whole day,” Madison urged his audience at the community center. “Commit to something that will change communities.”

On the eve of a presidential election year, civilian and military personnel were urged in January to register to vote and reminded 10 months before the November election what they could and could not do under law as federal employees in terms of political participation and activities.

Emphasizing another aspect of citizenship, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall opened two tax centers on base in January, one on the Fort Myer portion of the installation and the other on the Henderson Hall side, to help servicemembers, Family members and retirees prepare their yearly tax filings.

Soldiers from the Military District of Washington’s 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company and Marines from the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force conducted joint training Jan.10-12 at the Downey Responder Training Facility on Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Md. Military personnel crawled, dug and cut through mounds of concrete steel and debris in an exercise that simulated the aftereffects of an urban disaster.

“A joint exercise like this gives us confidence that in a real-world incident our two units know the capabilities of each other and we can trust each other to do the job correctly and safely,” said Staff Sgt. John Cogley, a squad leader for the 911th TREC 2nd Platoon.

JBM-HH was also a key player in a January exercise at the Pentagon where a simulated Black Hawk helicopter crash tested the resources of first responders from the Department of Defense and municipal governments. A comprehensive Pentagon emergency exercise is conducted once a year on the grounds of the Pentagon.

Adapting to new 21st century procedures and continuing to look at better ways to serve the community, the base Interactive Customer Evaluation program, which provides feedback to organizations on the quality of services they provide, began incorporating quick response codes in January. Customers can scan an organization or leader’s QR code with a smart phone and provide immediate comments about policies and actions.

The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Dining Facility closed to civilians, contractors and retirees the last week of January 2012, a result of funding restraints. Prior to 9/11, the facility had been closed to civilian personnel, but additional security procedures implemented after 2001 delayed automobile traffic entering base gates, so the dining facility was opened to civilians for a time.

“In the new fiscal environment, I can no longer afford to provide the service to non-military customers,” JBM-HH Commander Col. Carl R. Coffman said in January.

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli retired on JBM-HH Jan. 31 and was succeeded by Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III.

The JBM-HH Army Career Alumni Program began preparing for an influx of military personnel preparing to transition to civilian life as overseas commitments wind down and the armed forces downsize. ACAP, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, is redoubling its efforts at the beginning of the year to let servicemembers know what services it provides, from classes in resume writing and employment interviews to instruction in proper business attire and which companies seek out those with military training.

Black History Month was observed on JBM-HH Feb. 22 at the Joint Base community center with a speech by Carla J. Grantham, a Coast Guard retiree who previously served as the director of the service’s leadership and professional development office.

Grantham said Black History Month is about “learning the details … of what happened in history … and making sure that absolutely everyone feels as if they’re valued and has a place in our society.”

Also in honor of Black History Month, Arlington National Cemetery instituted a tour of cemetery grounds – including McClellan Circle, Arlington House and a section of the cemetery where African American servicemembers were first buried -- highlighting the role African Americans played in the cemetery’s development.

The Fort Myer Generals, JBM-HH’s men’s basketball team, won the regional Capital Classic tournament over Presidents Day weekend. The Generals averaged 93 points per game during five straight victories in the tournament.

“A lot of times [tournament games are] like a boxing match where you try to look at how teams will play against you,” said Generals Coach Marcus Hall. “We feel teams out for the first three or four minutes and then we change up from what they normally see. We go from full-court press to half-court press to keep the opposition totally off guard.”

Staff Sgt. Felicia Mitchell, an investigator with the Washington Criminal Investigation Command Battalion, stationed on JBM-HH, was selected in late February to perform with the 2012 Army Soldier Show. The 11-year Army veteran and vocalist had been with CID for six years.

Retired Navy Capt. Lory Manning was the guest speaker at a Women’s History Month observance at the Fort Myer Officers Club March 24. Manning, director of the Women’s Research and Education Institute, spoke about the milestones that paved the way for female servicemembers through the decades, including the 1948 Women Armed Services Integration Act, the Equal Rights Amendment, the abolition of the draft and making service academies open to women.

New cherry trees were planted on the banks of the Washington Channel on the Fort McNair portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall April 19 in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the gift of cherry trees from the people of Japan. The trees were donated by Casey Trees of Washington, D.C. The symbolic tree planting, held three days before Earth Day, included the participation of Maj. Gen Atsushi Hikita, Defense and Air attaché to the Embassy of Japan, Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and Military District of Washington, Susan Norton, chair of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Board of Directors, Col. Carl R. Coffman, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall commander and Matthew J. Cary, District of Columbia Office of Veterans Affairs director and Mayor’s office representative.

With its wide open vistas and sightlines, Fort Myer became an ideal viewing site April 17 to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery pass over the Washington, D.C., area on its way to Dulles International Airport and its retirement at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in suburban Virginia.

“We were down here training, and we took a break because we heard this was happening,” said Fort Belvoir Staff Sgt. Raymond Rivera, 212th Military Police Detachment. “This is the first time [seeing the shuttle] for me.”

“This marks the end of the era that started in 1961 with President Kennedy launching the United States to race to the moon during the height of the Cold War,” said JBM-HH Historian Kim Holien of the once-in-a-lifetime flight. “This is the end of that era. Fifty-one years of space exploration has come full cycle.”

March came in like a lamb and left like a lion as JBM-HH’s home team, the Fort Myer Generals, won the March 30-April 1 Washington Area Military Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, capping a 30-1 season.

“During the tournament, we got a complete team effort. The ten guys we had on the team stepped up and got the job done,” said Coach Marcus Hall.

The Military District of Washington extended its Twilight Tattoo season from April through August in 2012, moving most of the performances from the Fort McNair portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall to the Fort Myer side of the base. As in previous years, the traditional sunset pageant combined music from the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” with the precision drills of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) to tell the Army story.

“It’s our honor to bring the Twilight Tattoo series to historic Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Our Army has been the strength of the nation for almost 237 years and we appreciated the opportunity to share our history and the talents of our Soldiers with those we serve – the American people,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Area and Military District of Washington commander.

Spring renewed the Directorate of Public Works and the Directorate of Environmental Management’s battle to keep mosquito populations low on JBM-HH, minimizing the spread of the West Nile virus infection among the insects with larvacides and preventing transmission to humans. While several locations on base turned up mosquito pools that tested positive for the virus, no human cases emerged. Other installations in the National Capital Region saw individuals with weakened immune systems hospitalized for the condition.

Headquarters & Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall held their second annual Daddy Daughter Dance April 7 at the Sheraton Hotel just outside JBM-HH gates. The event was sponsored by the Henderson Hall Family Readiness Program.

“This is a fantastic event. I don’t get to go out very often with my daughter Isabelle, so it’s nice to have an opportunity to go out and have some fun together,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Sieber, who works at the Pentagon.

National Defense University President Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau retired April 11 at NDU’s Lincoln Hall on the Fort McNair portion of JBM-HH. Rondeau transferred command to university vice president, Nancy McEldowney.

“I am particularly grateful for those who made me look good every day. A lot of you did that,” Rondeau told her colleagues. “These NDU enterprises – this family, this faculty, these leaders, these commandants, these chancellors – are an extraordinary gift. They are a collective genius.”

Andrew Rader Army Health Clinic on JBM-HH announced it had received national certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance for Patient Centered Medical Home at an open house April 25.

In an organizational consolidation and realignment, the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center on JBM-HH moved to Fort Belvoir May 7.

“What we found is that the smaller and smaller CPACs get, it’s harder to provide really good services,” said CPAC Human Resources Director Jennifer Tavares. “The reason is because a lot of times you’ve only got one person [a specific] function. If that person is out, then it either has to wait or someone else has to try and pick it up.”

Tavares said customers shouldn’t be alarmed. Most services, such as job applications, resume referrals and benefit questions are handled online, she said.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Erik K. Shinseki was the guest speaker at JBM-HH’s observance of Asian Pacific Heritage Month May 16 at the base community center.

Alluding to an executive order that led to U.S.-based internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, Shinseki, a retired general and former Army chief of staff, said, “Despite the injustice of that order, young Americans of Japanese ancestry from all around the country, including those camps, volunteered to serve in uniform … demanded the right to bear arms at a time of national emergency. They considered it their privilege … to demonstrate something that needed no proving as far as they were concerned -- that was their loyalty as American citizens. They chose to demonstrate that in battle.”

At the Military District of Washington Army Family Action Plan conference in May, delegates chose two key issues to bring to leadership’s attention this year. They asked for comparable access to care for exceptional Family members at joint service assignments as well as permanent change of station or temporary duty priority in the use of privatized lodging for Soldiers and their Families.

“Things are changing in our country and our Army is under the same financial constraints as the nation,” said JFHQ-NCR and MDW Command Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington at the conclusion of the three-day conference. “We need to prioritize our goals to maintain the quality of life for our Families, and this program does that, as well as highlight our Army’s commitment to our Families.”

Having raised $228,500 – $58,000 more than last year -- The Army Officers Wives Club of the Greater Washington Area-Fort Myer Thrift Shop distributed money the store raised to scholarships at Memorial Chapel May 20. The money went to 36 recipients in three categories: high school students, college students and spouses.

President Barack Obama spoke at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day May 28.

“To all our men and women in uniform who are here today , know this: The patriots who rest beneath these hills were fighting for many things – for their Families, for their flag – but above all, they were fighting for you,” the president told veterans and Family members. “As long as I’m president, we will make sure you and your loved ones receive the benefits you’ve earned and the respect you deserve. America will be there for you.”

Following a Memorial Day tradition, Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) fanned out across the cemetery the Thursday before the holiday to place American flags at every gravesite in a ritual known as “flags in.”

“This is a pretty big deal, This is my third year doing it, and I take great pride in doing it every year,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Sibayon of TOG’s 289th MP Company, “-- not only coming out to put flags in, but also coming back to take them out and make sure they are taken care for the following year.”

Keith Hall, a 30-year-old, five-story barracks on the Henderson Hall portion of JBM-HH is in the final stages of demolition. The barracks was named for Medal of Honor recipient Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, who was mortally wounded in 1970 while saving his platoon during a ground attack in Vietnam.

JBM-HH recognized the 237th Army birthday with a cake-cutting at the Arlington County Courthouse June 14.

“Arlington County and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall have shared a long history since 1861, when 40,000 Soldiers garrisoned the defenses of Washington at the peak of the Civil War on what was known as the Arlington Line,” said JBM-HH Commander Col. Carl R. Coffman at the ceremony. “Since then we have shared a positive partnership – one that continues to grow today. Together we are committed to building a stronger community -- one that supports the strength, resilience and readiness of our Soldiers and their Families.”

At a Twilight Tattoo held in JBM-HH’s Conmy Hall two days earlier, Sgt. Maj. Raymond F. Chandler, sergeant major of the Army, reflected on the birthday celebration.

“The thing I’m most proud about in America’s Army is that we are so resilient,” he said. “Not too many other armies around the world, if any, can do what we’ve done in the past 10 years. These last 10 years are really a testament to the American Soldier and their Family and their resilience.”

A series of severe thunderstorms struck the Washington region June 29, damaging buildings and downing trees on JBM-HH, which temporarily lost electricity and had to rely on generators.

“Our [Directorate of Public Works] guys, whether they are technicians or roads and grounds guys, are world class,” said JBM-HH Commander Col. Carl R. Coffman, praising the base response to the storm. “They continue to execute; they understand what the mission is. All you have to do is give them a little intent and then stay out of their way.”

Thanks to a partnership the installation has with the utility Virginia Dominion Power, which is updating and maintaining the electricity grid on JBM-HH, the base became a staging area for utility crews – some from as far away as Florida and Canada – to make repairs to power lines in the region. The tri-service parking lot filled up with linemen, bucket trucks and cherry pickers past the Independence Day holiday in efforts to restore power to the region.

Maj. Gen. Gregg F. Martin became the president of National Defense University July 11, taking over the reins from the interim president who filled the position after Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau retired in April.

In an interview with the Pentagram prior to stepping down as JBM-HH commander in July, Col. Carl R. Coffman reflected on his tenure on base.

“One of the key things I’ve focused on throughout the command … is developing a strong relationship with our community partners,” he said. “They are our neighbors and we are part of their neighborhoods, and we have to understand and continue to foster the community relationship.”

Col. Fern O. Sumpter assumed command of JBM-HH from Coffman July 17.

“I fully accept the responsibility and authority of commanding this great organization with eyes wide open and a heart committed to serving with the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall staff, partners and service providers who work so diligently ever day, providing support services to the thousands of military members and their Families, retirees and civilians stationed throughout the National Capital Region,” she said.

Sumpter began her Army career as an enlisted Soldier in the Army Reserves and climbed the ranks to colonel. She is the second female of 102 officers to command Fort Myer and the third officer to command the installation since it became Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull succeeded Sgt. Maj. Michael W. Williams as JFHQ-NCR and MDW command sergeant major July 24 on JBM-HH’s Summerall Parade Field.

JFHQ-NCR and MDW Commander Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington noted that Turnbull began his career as a private with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment in 1984.

“Twenty-eight years later, he is back to assume responsibility for this great unit,” Linnington said. “To our young Soldiers standing on the field, let that be a testament to what you can accomplish building on the foundation of serving with The Old Guard. Welcome home, Sergeant Major Turnbull.”

Staff Sgt. Neil T. Percifull, from the U.S. Army Priority Air Transport Command, Army Air Operations Group, Military District of Washington, received the Air Medal with valor from Florida Congressman C. W. Bill Young and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler on Capitol Hill July 18 as a result of actions the Soldier took in the fall of 2008 while deployed in Afghanistan.

Percifull was in Company C, 5th Bn., 101st Aviation Regiment, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the crew chief of a UH-60L Black Hawk conducting daily passenger missions out of Bagram Air Base. Flying over a major checkpoint on a main highway that heads south from Kabul to Kandahar the crew noticed 40 to 45 individuals and vehicles clustered at an overpass. As the helicopter made several passes, the group scattered and the aircraft took fire from several different directions and was hit by a rocket propelled grenade to the tail section. Survivors set up a perimeter around the downed helicopter and defended themselves until help arrived. Percifull received the Air Medal for actions that enabled his aircraft crew to successfully defend against enemy forces during hostile fire.

“I thought the ceremony was great and a bit overwhelming considering the audience,” Percifull remarked.

Lt. Col. Jenifer L. Meno relinquished command of the Andrew Rader U.S. Army Health Clinic in a ceremony at the JBM-HH Community Center Aug. 1. Rader Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Stacy Weina, became interim clinic commander until the arrival of incoming commander Lt. Col. Laura Trinkle later in the month.

Meno stressed the importance of good working relationships at the ceremony and quoted author Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Trinkle assumed command Aug. 21 and laid out her priorities.

“I truly believe maintaining the health of and providing care to the nation’s servicemen and women and their Families is a great privilege – regardless of whether they wear the uniforms of today or the khakis of 50 years ago,” she said. “To the clinic staff – since the command list came out last fall --, I have heard nothing but great things about the quality of care you provide and positive attitude.”

A group of Montford Point Marines – the first African-American Marines admitted into the service with a presidential decree in 1941 – were honored on Capitol Hill in June with the Congressional Gold Medal. Because of advancing age, some of these Marines were unable to attend the ceremony, so active duty Marines from the Henderson Hall portion of JBM-HH made special arrangements. On Aug. 29 Henderson Hall Commanding Officer Col. Ira Cheatham and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph M. Davenport, accompanied by a color guard, visited the home of former Montford Point Marine James Lane’s daughter and held a special ceremony for him in the backyard with several other Montford Point Marines in attendance.

“It’s an honor to meet these guys. I like talking to them. I’ve heard all the stories and I just wanted to learn more about them,” said Sgt Rodney Sanders, a member of the Henderson Hall color guard who volunteered for the assignment. “I love these guys, They paved the way for a lot of our leadership, and especially for myself. I owe them a lot.”

A month after assuming command of JBM-HH, Col. Fern O. Sumpter held a workforce town hall Aug. 14.

An annual program review by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment, in cooperation with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, was held on JBM-HH Aug. 28. The event showcased technologies that can help the Army and the Department of Defense promote sustainability and reduce energy costs.

A robot, known as the Legged Squad Support System or LS3, was tested on JBM-HH Sept 10 by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

“Half of the Earth is inaccessible to wheeled and tracked vehicles,” said Marc Raibert, principle investigator and lead for the LS3 Group with Boston Dynamic. “People and animals, using their legs, can go almost anywhere. The idea behind this robot is to have a robot that can go anywhere on Earth.”

A job fair for servicemembers sponsored by the base Army Career Alumni Program, Army Community Service and the Virginia Employment Commission Sept. 10 attracted more than 200 people. More than 34 federal and civilian job recruiters participated.

“We hope to accomplish bridging relationships with organizations as resources for the community,” said Carla Moss, ACS information and referral program.

“This is my first job fair, however it’s a good one,” said attendee Staff Sgt. Joel Chung. “I am leaving with a few job leads today.”

In mid-September, Sgt. Maj. Craig D. Cressman became the battalion sergeant major for Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters, Marine Corps, Henderson Hall, replacing Sgt. Maj. Joseph M. Davenport

“You are a melting pot representative of our society, descendants of immigrants who came to the United States to better their lives and now you proudly serve our country,” said the director of the U.S. Selective Service System Lawrence G. Romo Sept. 25 at the base community center in observance of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The JBM-HH Police Department was the recipient of a SHIELD award from the Anti Defamation League Sept. 24 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The award is given to law enforcement departments who display outstanding efforts and leadership in thwarting hate crimes. The department was one of several organizations that received the award for its efforts in searching for and apprehending a man captured in Arlington National Cemetery in 2011, who was later linked to shootings of various military structures, including the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and armed forces recruiting stations.

“Proud is a word that describes what I feel,” said JBM-HH Director of Emergency Services Lt. Col. Kenneth Sheppard, one of the attendees at the ceremony. “The SHIELD award is for exceptional leadership in law enforcement, so that’s why you have the chiefs of police and agencies here tonight.”

The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Department hosted a few dozen youth at the fire station Sept. 28 as part of the 17th International Association of Firefighters International Children’s Burn Camp. The camp brings teens from across the nation who have been injured in fires to the Washington area every year to visit landmarks, bond with their peers and share experiences – including visiting the base fire station, the Caisson Platoon stables and Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown. Base firefighters provided youth with a barbecue meal and arranged performances by the U.S. Army Drill Team and the Fife and Drum Corps.

“Being selected for the International Burn Camp is such a huge honor,” said 15-year-old Caryn Stewart of West Union, Iowa. “Meeting all the different kids, hearing their stories is so amazing – to learn what they’ve gone through. Also meeting the firefighters [on JBM-HH] was wonderful. They’re great.”

“As a member of the fire service, I think it’s important to give back to survivors who have been burned by something we try to prevent,” said James Dansereau, a JBM-HH fire inspector. “It is great to be able to give the survivors recovering from injury the VIP treatment.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Earlene Y. Lavender assumed responsibilities as JBM-HH command sergeant major Oct. 4 in Spates Community Club, replacing interim Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Jessup, who took on the job after the departure of Command Sgt. Maj. Necati Akpinar in the fall.

Lavender made a series of pledges to the community. She pledged to build strong bonds and professional working relationships regardless of disagreements and misunderstandings and to strive to provide the best quality of service available. She said she would listen to others’ concerns and feedback “not to focus on what can’t be done or give excuses why something is not done, but to focus on what we can do to accomplish our needs together.”

The Inter-American Defense College on Fort McNair celebrated its 50th anniversary during a three-day event Oct. 10-12. IADC is an international educational institution operating under the aegis and funding of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Defense Board.

The Sergeants Major Fort Myer team from JBM-HH outperformed all other E-9 squads at the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 21 to receive an Army Ten-Miler trophy. The combined net times of James Bodecker, David Brundage, Henrik Iversen and David Turnbull equaled four hours, 52 minutes and 54 seconds to take the Sergeants Major Team title.

“I just try to pass the person in front of me,” said Bodecker, the command sergeant major at 1/3 Battalion (The Old Guard). “We were lucky to put together a good team.”

Army shined at the 37th Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 28 as Augustus Maiyou, an Army specialist originally from Kenya and former All-American steeplechase runner from the University of Alabama, was first across the finish line, followed by Kenny Foster, an Army military intelligence officer completing a captains’ career course at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

“It was my first [Marine Corps] marathon. It was tough,” said Maiyou, who finished second at the Army Ten-Miler the previous weekend. “I kept thinking, ‘When am I going to finish it?’ especially with two miles to go.”

The federal government shut down Oct. 29 and 30 in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy with high winds and rain pelting JBM-HH, buffeting buildings, flooding basements and downing trees on the installation. An emergency operations center, established by the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, was set up in the basement of Bldg. 59, command headquarters, while most other activities on base shut down to weather the storm. JBM-HH again became a staging area for Dominion Virginia Power and other utility providers who sought to restore electrical power to neighboring communities in the region.

Despite conditions, Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) continued to keep watch at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery as the storm unfolded.

“It’s a no-fail mission,” said Staff Sgt. Sean McAlpine, TOG Delta Company casket team noncommissioned officer in charge. “We don’t stop for weather. We put the mission before anything else.”

The U.S. Army Band took a historic trip to China Oct. 27 to Nov. 5, visiting Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing and playing with the People’s Liberation Army Band of China in a series of concerts. The trip was the fruit of a cultural exchange when the Chinese band came to Washington in 2011 and played with TUSAB musicians.

National Native American Heritage Month was observed on JBM-HH Nov. 7 with a demonstration of dancing from the Piscataway Indian Nation and a sampling of indigenous ethnic foods.

“National Native American Heritage Month … recognizes the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of our great nation,” said Col. Fern O. Sumpter, JBM-HH commander. “Since the birth of America, Native Americans have contributed immeasurably to our country and our heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, artists, entrepreneurs and leaders in all aspects of our society.”

Sixty volunteers planted 21 trees near the Old Post Chapel, the tri-service parking lot and the Army Band building on JBM-HH Nov. 16 through the oversight of the base Directorate of Environmental Management. The trees were donated by Casey trees with contributions from the Army Officers Wives Club of the Greater Washington Area.

The U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball was held Nov. 10 at the Gaylord National Resort in Oxon Hill, Md., celebrating the service’s 237 years. The 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, attended the event.

Three-hundred guests gathered at the Washington waterfront on the boat Odyssey Nov. 20 for the annual Patriot’s Picnic Luncheon Cruise that honored veterans and servicemembers. The group included guests from the Washington Armed Forces Retirement Home, Disabled Veterans of America and Virginia Honor Flight. Servicemembers from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Belvoir also attended the cruise.

In recognition of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Dec. 7 edition of the Pentagram published a walking historical tour of Arlington National Cemetery that identified the gravesites of participants, heroes and memorials to further shed light on the day that would live in infamy.

Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall was filled with holiday-themed events the month of December, including: a Celebration of Children-Arlington, which held a Christmas party for children of servicemembers currently deployed; then Santa made a guest appearance at the annual tree lighting ceremony outside Bldg. 59, command headquarters, Dec. 5; Marine Corps Community Services held its Ring in the Holidays gathering Dec. 6, which brought children from the Tutor and Buddy Program at Barcroft Elementary School to base for holiday cheer; a formal holiday reception for community leaders took place at the Fort Myer Officers Club Dec. 12; and dolls, puzzles, games, DVDs and other presents were collected for the annual Army Community Service’s Operation Santa toy drive, with donations collected for deserving children at a Reindeer Stampede run, basketball tournament and Senior Fitness Challenge.

This year Marines from Henderson Hall have been integrated into the JBM-HH Army Community Service Holiday Food Assistance Program, which provides commissary gift cards to financially-strapped enlisted servicemembers submitted by their chain of command. Gift cards are distributed in increments of $25 to servicemembers E5 and below who are deemed eligible by their chain of command. Deserving Henderson Hall Marine Families can also receive toys through the Operation Santa toy drive.

“Today I picked up my voucher at ACS and the room was filled with toys,” said a Marine Corps sergeant. “I’m a single mom and I really appreciate the military supporting me during the holidays. It feels good to know the Marine Corps has my back.

“When I picked up my food voucher … they greeted you with a smile. They treat you w