JTAGS at Misawa celebrate the U.S. Army's 238 years
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Some people are really good at flying under the radar. Unless, of course, it's their birthday.
And they're 238 years old.
Today marked the 238th birthday for the U.S. Army, and for about 25 soldiers stationed with the Joint Tactical Ground Systems detachment here, the celebration occurred in true military fashion - with an Army Service Uniform inspection.
"Everyone looks sharp," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Johnson, JTAGS first sergeant, addressing soldiers in the afternoon formation. "The Army is the oldest service in the Department of Defense, and every one of you should be proud of being a part of that."
JTAGS have shared Misawa Air Base with thousands of Airmen for the past five years, often going unnoticed due to their small numbers. Their impact is the opposite, as they perform a joint mission that provides early warning, alerting and cueing capability for the detection of theater ballistic missile threats across the pacific region.
Capt. Kyle Vonderheide, JTAGS commander, said the soldiers of the detachment are motivated and do a fantastic job co-existing with Airmen on a daily basis.
"Working with the Air Force, our mission definitely has the potential to save a lot of lives," said Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Myers, JTAGS crew chief who has been at Misawa for about 18 months. "Knowing something is coming as a threat gives [F-16 pilots] and base personnel plenty of time to ensure families are safe and Airmen are employed in battle positions if necessary."
Relying on joint forces not only creates a strong working relationship, but also provides an opportunity most soldiers never get the chance to experience.
Spc. David Berg, a team leader with the JTAGS, said he loves being stationed at an Air Force base.
"It's smaller, quainter, and we get to be a big part of the culture here at Misawa," said Berg, whose last assignment was at Fort Hood, Texas. "We get to know the community very well and support both joint and bilateral operations."
Celebrating the birthday of the Army on an Air Force base sounds like a challenge, but it's nothing new to Vonderheide.
"I've worked on Air Force bases the past four years," he said, of his assignment trend. "The Army and the Air Force are very closely linked. Whether it's troops on the ground providing aerial security or Misawa pilots bringing air power, both services require each other to be truly successful."