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Cohen Kicks Off Armed Forces Day Weekend

By Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA
American Forces Press Service

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md., May 14, 1999 – "Ours is the greatest fighting force in the world because of our technology, training, doctrine and tactics, but most of all because of the people who serve us in uniform," Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said May 14 at the 1999 DoD Joint Service Open House held here in observance of Armed Forces Day weekend.

The 41st annual event May 14-16 showcased the people, equipment and technology of today's U.S. armed services. Active and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen demonstrated how they work together. Cohen's special guests, former Sen. Bob Dole and Washington Redskin's coach Norv Turner, were on hand as the secretary spoke to several hundred guests and service members at opening ceremonies May 14.

"This is a celebration and demonstration of our men and women in uniform," Cohen said. "We see our proud past in the veterans and the vintage aircraft gathered here today. We are looking at the present in the stunning capabilities on static display on this runway, the men and women joining us today in uniform from every service. Army soldiers and paratroopers, the Golden Knights, Air Force aviators and air crews, Navy sailors and pilots, Marine fliers and riflemen, Coast Guard crews and pilots -- this is your day."

Cohen praised the service and sacrifices of service members stationed around the world and added that keeping the "best and bravest" means "taking care of those who take care of America."

"Those of you in uniform deserve a quality of life and benefits that measure up to the job that you do and the burdens that you carry -- you and your families," he said. Cohen pointed out that Congress is supporting the largest pay raise in a generation and working on other improvements in military benefits and quality of life.

"This is not only a military necessity, it's a moral imperative," Cohen said. "We must and we will protect and defend those of you who are protecting and defending America.

"This is a day of heartfelt celebration of your devotion to America and appreciation of the service you give and the sacrifice you make," Cohen continued. "You are the guardians of our heritage, our freedom and America is eternally grateful for the blessings of freedom that you make possible."

This year's featured aerial demonstrations included the U.S. Army premier parachute team, the Golden Knights, and a mass troop drop of 320 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

One of the Pentagon's top leaders and two celebrity entertainers joined the Golden Knights' morning jump. Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Australia's Sherrie Austin, a rising country singing star, and Nicholas Lea, who plays Alex Krycek on "The X- Files," donned chutes for the aerial demonstration. Austin and Lea were paired with Army paratroopers to jump tandem.

Other demonstrations showcased the Navy's F-18 Hornet, the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt, known as the "Warthog," the Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II, the Navy's P-3 Orion antisubmarine aircraft and the Air Force F-15 Eagle.

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Armed Forces Day Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, May 14, 1999

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks with members of the Golden Knights after jumping with them during opening ceremonies May 14 at the DoD Joint Services Open House. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAltaf Carim and Merrilea Mayo with their 2- year-old son Taran peer out the window of a C60A-1 Lockheed Lodestar, a paratroop carrier and flight transport aircraft. The Lodestar was one of several aircraft displayed at the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14-16 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and Washington Redskin's coach Norv Turner, render honors during the playing of the National Anthem at the DoD Joint Service Open House. The Armed Forces Day weekend ceremonies kicked off May 14 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageFollowing opening ceremonies of the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole talks with visitors and poses for photographs before leaving. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMore than 300 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers completed a mass jump following opening ceremonies at the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageVisitors to the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14 check out the cockpit of the F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft. The F-15 is a tactical fighter aircraft used to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. The F- 15 is only one of several aircraft on display at the open house May 14-16 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William S. Cohen meets with visitors and poses for photographs after opening ceremonies at the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14. Cohen hosted the opening ceremonies dedicating the event to the men and women in uniform. " Army soldiers and paratroopers, the Golden Knights, Air Force aviators and air crews, Navy sailors and pilots, Marine fliers and riflemen, Coast Guard crews and pilots -- this is your day," he said. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William S. Cohen and his special guests former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and Washington Redskin's coach Norv Turner complete an inspection of troops during opening ceremonies at the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe Navy Ceremonial Guard, Naval Station Anacostia, Washington D.C., executes an eyes right as they pass the reviewing party during opening ceremonies of the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe United States Coast Guard Honor Guard Unit, Alexandria, Va., marches past the reviewing party during opening ceremonies of the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe 3rd U.S. Infantry "Old Guard" Fife and Drum Corps, Fort Myer, Va., marches past the reviewing party during opening ceremonies of the DoD Joint Service Open House May 14 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA)  
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