FORT LEE — Yesterday afternoon represented a special respite for Specialist Imann Fletcher, a Fort Lee soldier, who along with many of his fellow soldiers, got a break from their regular daily grind to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fort Lee.
“It’s an honor to be here,” said Fletcher. “To be training here at this time, and to celebrate this monumental event: I’m really looking forward to it.”
The week is full of fun activities that the soldiers don’t normally get to partake in, including special competitions in basketball, bowling, dodgeball, volleyball, and drill team.
“It’s definitely refreshing to get a break from the daily training routine; it can be pretty strenuous,” said Fletcher. “We’re all just looking forward to celebrating Fort Lee, and everything that has been accomplished here.”
A packed crowd at Williams Stadium officially kicked-off the week with the Centennial Celebration Monday morning.
“We’re here to celebrate the Army’s center of gravity for sustainment,” said Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley Jr. as he addressed the crowd.
The ceremony included two special performances. The first one was from the U.S Army’s Special Operations Command Parachute demonstration team, also known as the Black Daggers. The Daggers performed a special jump from a helicopter 7,000 feet in the air into the stadium as the soldiers cheered them on.
The second performance was from the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Dressed in full Revolution-era American uniforms, the guard performed several selections that would have been played during the Revolutionary War.
A 100-mile run also concluded during the ceremony. Starting on Sunday morning, Fort Lee soldiers had run 100 miles around the region, including Dinwiddie, Prince George, Petersburg, Hopewell, Colonial Heights, and Chesterfield. The last mile was run during the ceremony, as soldiers ran into the stadium amid cheers, officially completing the 100 miles. The run symbolized the strength of the relationship between Fort Lee and the surrounding community.
“We could not have completed the 100-mile run without the support of the community,” said Col. Adam Butler, garrison commander.
Butler noted that the week had been in planning for over a year, with the centennial representing many hours of preparation.
“It’s special,” said Butler. “You start in 1917 until today, and that’s special to be a part of.”
The ceremony marked the start of a week of celebration for the base, as soldiers from all Fort Lee units will have a chance to take part in the centennial.
“Throughout the rest of the week all units on the base — the transporters, the ordinances, and the quartermasters — they each will have a day to showcase their own events,” said Butler.
Soldiers were happy to get to take part in the special celebration, as they honored the history of the base they currently call home.
“I’m really excited to be here with my buddies,” said Pvt. Bright Abuyu. “I’m overwhelmed to be here today, we’re all excited to see everything.”