Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day (Patuxent Homestead / May 11, 2012)

Starting Monday, Aberdeen Proving Ground will continue a long-standing American tradition this year with an Armed Forces Week celebration (May 14-19) and a concentrated Armed Forces Day celebration this Wednesday, May 16.

This year's celebration will also herald the return of a popular past event, a Live Fire Demonstration on Saturday, May 19, for which tickets are no longer available, according to post officials.

This year's Armed Forces Week theme, "Heroes on the Home Front," was chosen as a way to recognize local military and civilian personnel as heroes.

The celebration begins with a golf tournament Monday and veterans luncheon Tuesday, then highlights the diverse missions performed at Aberdeen Proving Ground with the Armed Forces Day Open House on Wednesday, May 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on the grounds of the APG Museum.

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Wednesday events

The opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will feature performances by the Chapel Hill Elementary School choir, and the Southampton Middle School band.

Raymund "Dimo" Dimatulac, plans and operations specialist for Garrison APG, said the event is "a fun day to celebrate with our armed services."

"This is our opportunity to honor our service members, their families and our retirees," he said. "Our leadership asked us to show the entire community the work that goes on at APG every day. APG is a vital link to the success of our nation's military."

He added that a total of 36 displays are slated for the event, from more than two dozen installation organizations, according to event organizers. Also planned are demonstrations from the National Guard's Freestate ChalleNGe cadets, Chemical Response Team, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, personnel, and canine units from the Directorate of Emergency Services.

Featured throughout the day will be music by "The Volunteers," theU.S. Army's premier touring show band, and "Leftstronger," a Baltimore-area band. Food will be available for purchase, and activities for children include a live wildlife exhibit, a Kiddie Corner, McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog, D.A.R.E. activities and fire-fighting displays.

The Armed Forces Day events are open to the public. Visitors without a government ID must use the Maryland Boulevard (Route 715) gate off Route 40 to enter the installation. Visitors age 16 and older must have a photo ID and drivers must present a valid driver's license and vehicle registration at the Visitor's Center.

Parking will be available in the vicinity of the APG Museum along Aberdeen Boulevard, between Maryland Boulevard and Rodman Road. See the shuttle schedule available for employees who would like to attend. For more information about the day's activities, call 410-278-4500.

The focus on healthy living will be reflected Wednesday, as theU.S. ArmyTest and Evaluation Command, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and the Community Health Promotion Council host National Employee Health and Fitness Day, which includes a 5K Walk/Run at Fanshaw Field at 8:30 a.m., a Bike Rally behind Bldg. 2202 at 8:30 a.m., and Fitness Classes in Building 320.

An Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program demonstration will be held in Bldg. 3300, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Body Fat Analysis tests will be performed from noon-1 p.m. in Bldg. 3300. For more information about National Employee Health and Fitness Day, call 410-417-2312.

Live Fire Demonstration returns

Ending the week's activities will be the live fire demonstration, hosted by ATEC's Aberdeen Test Center on Saturday, May 19.

The free tickets made available to the public on May 2 were distributed in less than an hour, said Michael Lupacchino, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

"The line started to form at noon," he said. "When the doors opened at about 1 p.m., there were over 125 people in line."

Lupacchino said 1,500 tickets were available, which were given to more than 300 people.

"Each person was able to get up to 5 tickets, but some took only two or three," he said.