Twilight Tattoo honors the U.S Army’s 242nd Birthday

Story by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), conduct a Twilight Tattoo performance at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall, Va., on June 14, 2017.

Twilight Tattoo is a one-hour patriotic journey that captures 242 years of Soldiers’ stories spanning across generations of men and women who have answered the call to uphold America’s freedom and democracy.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey and Robert M. Speer, Acting United States Secretary of the Army hosted the special performance which commemorated the 242nd birthday of the Army.

“On 14 June 1775, a company of Pennsylvania riflemen got together while George Washington and a bunch of militia from the New England states were battling the British in and around Boston, and that formed the nucleus of what was the Continental Army and soon became the United States Army,” said Milley. “From that birth until today, for 242 years, the United States Army has stood proud, shoulder to shoulder, with our brothers and sisters in the Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard in defending our liberties and freedoms.”

The date also marks the 100th year anniversary of World War I.

Prior to the performance, Milley and Speer presented Byron Derringer, a descendent of Cpt. James E. Miller, a WWI Soldier, with the Distinguished Flying Cross award for actions taken in the skies above Corberry and Barrieux, France on March 9, 1918.

During WWI, Miller was one of the individuals who assisted in the forming of the Army Air Corps.

“We have a privilege today to be able to recognize not only the heraldry of our total 242 years but also that point and time, where we recognize, late, a Distinguished Flying Cross for an American hero,” said Speer. “We’re very proud today to have some of the descendants here from James Miller’s family here and able to represent him and a lineage of what he achieved on those battlefields as the first individual who gave his life in that war in aviation.”

It was a spectacular moment and Derringer and his family were honored to be in attendance, said Derringer

Also during this event, Milley administered the oath of enlistment to 35 young men and women who joined the ranks of the U.S. Army, Army Reserves and Army National Guard during a future Soldier swearing-in ceremony.

“We’re the only country that takes an oath to an idea,” said Milley, before administering the oath. “An idea that’s embedded within a document called the constitution not too far from here. That idea is incredibly powerful. It’s an idea for which those of us in uniform are sworn to protect and defend, even at the cost of our life. That is the oath they are about to take.”

The future Soldiers were excited to begin training and honored to be part of such a significant day.

“I leave on Tuesday and I am very excited,” said Brittany S. Miller, a Chesapeake Beach, Maryland native and future Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialists. “It is an honor to be a part of all of all this tonight.”

This is really big, and I’m glad to be a part of this,” said Tate Perusse, a Lexington Park, Maryland native. “Not a lot of people get the opportunity to be sworn in by the chief of staff. I’m glad I get the chance.”

Twilight Tattoo weekly performances will run through Wednesday, Aug. 9, with exceptions on July 5 and July 12, when there will be no Twilight Tattoo scheduled. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

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