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Service members honored on Armed Forces Day

Email   Print   Share By Lisa Ferdinando, Army News Service
May 23, 2013 | Across DoD
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Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III (far left) salutes during the Armed Forces Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Saturday, as he and the other senior enlisted advisors honor those who have served in the military. Photos by Lisa Ferdinando, Army News Service
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Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III, his wife, Jeanne, listen to the Enduring Freedom Honor Team band, following an Armed Forces Day wreath-laying ceremony Saturday.
ARLINGTON, Va. - The Army’s top enlisted advisor, along with senior enlisted advisors from sister services, took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday in honor of Armed Forces Day.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III joined his counterparts from the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Following the wreath-laying, Chandler and the other enlisted advisors – Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody; Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett; Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens; Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael Leavitt; and the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia – listened to the Enduring Freedom Honor Team band from Fredericksburg, Va., play at Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater.

Armed Forces Day honors all service members, past and present, said Master Sgt. Terrence Hayes, public affairs advisor for the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Hayes said this was the first time all the senior enlisted advisors came together at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath for Armed Forces Day. He said officials hope to hold the event annually.

He said it is a fitting tribute for senior enlisted leaders to take part in such events, because 85 percent of service members are enlisted.

“The enlisted are the ones who are out there in Afghanistan, who were deployed to Iraq, who are deployed across the world right now, so it’s definitely important for the senior enlisted advisors to pay their respects and honor those individuals,” Hayes said.

He said the day also highlights the military’s ties to the community.

“Armed Forces Day is a day for service members to get out in the community and for the community to receive service members,” Hayes said. “Then we can gain an understanding of each other – whether that’s through us going out into the community and volunteering, or the community coming to us and participating in events such as this. We are heavily tied to the community.”

At the Tomb of the Unknowns, civilian visitors to the cemetery and to the nation’s capital watched the wreath-laying event as it unfolded.

“It was great to see visitors at Arlington pause from what they are doing to participate in the ceremony,” Hayes said.

It was President Harry S. Truman who led the effort to establish a

day for citizens to come together and thank the men and women of the armed forces for their service. On Aug. 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the separate services under the Department of Defense.
 
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