SSC-Natick Press ReleaseU.S. Army Soldier Systems
Public Affairs Office
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Date: June 26, 2007
Systems Center celebrates Flag Day, Army Birthday with town
||Soldiers from Natick
Soldier Systems Center joined the Town of Natick Veterans
Council at the local veterans' memorial park for ceremonies to
celebrate both Flag Day and the Army Birthday. (Photo by Sarah
Click for Larger Photo
NATICK, Mass. -- The town of Natick, 20 miles west of Boston, is
like many New England communities. It features a large, picturesque
town common with colorful flowers, benches, and a gazebo. The town’s
streets are lined with mature trees that shade both new and old
houses – some of which predate the birth of our nation. It is also
about 20 miles south of Lexington and Concord where the “shot heard
round the world” was fired signaling the start of the American
The town also has a veterans’ memorial park, Moran Park, honoring
Natick men and women who both served their country and many of whom
made the ultimate sacrifice.
And the town is also home to the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems
Center (NSSC), a 78-acre research and development facility that
employs about 2,000 civilians, contractors, and military personnel
who focus their efforts on developing the world’s best food,
clothing, shelters, airdrop, and Soldier support items.
In short, the town of Natick is stereotypical of the type of
Americana depicted by Norman Rockwell.
And because of that, the NSSC Soldiers attached to the Headquarters
Research and Development Detachment (HRDD) decided to approach the
Natick Veterans Council about a community outreach effort on June 14
to celebrate both Flag Day and the Army Birthday.
The town’s veterans’ officials embraced the idea and the two groups
At 6:30 a.m., on June 14, under the leadership of Capt. Tom
Bloomfield and 1st Sgt. Fred Giles, the HRDD Soldiers stood at
attention at Moran Park for a flag raising ceremony as traffic
flowed by and curious drivers slowed to assess the activity.
A Natick police officer stopped traffic while the Soldiers were
called to present arms as Old Glory ascended the flagpole, and while
a recorded bugle sounded reveille.
Following the ceremony, the HRDD Soldiers spent a few moments
tidying up Moran Park giving it that crisp, spit-polished look
associated with the military.
At the garrison, the celebration continued at 11 a.m. Remarks by
Col. Gaston Bathalon, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental
Medicine (USARIEM), preceded a cake cutting by the oldest and
youngest USARIEM Soldiers - Maj. William Latzka and Pfc. Adam Cross
- while employees looked on.
The troops then moved back to Moran Park for a noon event. NSSC
personnel joined Natick Veterans’ Council and town officials in
providing brief remarks honoring our flag, our Army, and Natick’s
veterans. Col. Beau Freund, USARIEM commander and the military
deputy of the Natick Soldier Systems Center, provided the keynote
speech on behalf of Brig. Gen. R. Mark Brown, NSSC commanding
At 4:30 p.m., the HRDD Soldiers once again assembled at Moran Park
for retreat. Natick veterans representing the Gulf War, Vietnam,
Korea, and WWII joined the NSSC Soldiers in this final military
ceremony of the day.
HRDD commander Bloomfield noted that the U.S. Army, formed on June
14, 1775, is older than the United States itself which notes July 4,
1776, as its birthday. June 14, he said, happens to coincide with
Flag Day, when the national flag was adopted in 1777.
“We decided to hold the celebration of these important days off post
to show our solidarity with the town and its veterans,” said
Bloomfield. “The Natick community has been very supportive of its
veterans, as my unit has witnessed during celebrations on Memorial
Day, Veteran’s Day, and Independence Day.”
John MacGillivray, Natick’s director of veterans services and one of
the speakers for the noon event, thanked the Army for supporting the
“Today, we’re here to show reverence to the flag and to honor those
99 vets from Natick who died in their service to our nation.”
He said that Moran Park “is a sacred place to us.”