DAHLGREN, Va. – It began like many Veterans Day events – government employees and defense contractors recited the pledge of allegiance and John Wedding, a Navy scientist, played taps on his trumpet.
There was a solemn moment of silence and respect in honor of veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America.
At that point, the gathering of about 65 Navy civilian personnel paid tribute to America’s living veterans – specifically to those veterans in attendance and throughout Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) – with speeches and good news about opportunities for the command’s veterans, including a new initiative called the Veteran Integration Program.
There was also a combat cupcake competition at the Nov. 8 event.
Ten contestants competed for votes as those in attendance sampled their delicious desserts – more than 100 cupcakes, including the competition cupcakes.
The NSWCDD Weapons Control and Integration Department and the NSWCDD Strategic and Computing Systems Department sponsored the event where their scientists, engineers, business, and support specialists voted for first and second place winners in the best tasting and best presentation categories.
“Let us always honor and remember our veterans past and present and never forget their great sacrifices and the sacrifices of their family members,” Marietto Jeffries, NSWCDD Veterans Employment Special Emphasis Program manager (SEPM) told the gathering while encouraging veterans to connect with the veteran’s community at Dahlgren.
Natasha Holloway, NSWCDD Employee Engagement Program manager, also spoke to the veterans in attendance about connecting via the command’s Veteran Integration Initiative.
“In a world where we are increasingly connected through social media and other like platforms, we seem to have less face to face interaction,” said Holloway. “Veteran Integration strives to provide another opportunity for connection in the workplace through the establishment of mentoring partnerships and our monthly events.”
Holloway – who provided a state of the program update to the Cupcake Combat attendees – discussed upcoming events and opportunities such as the mentoring program where veterans are linked up with other veterans across the command for mentoring and increased connectivity. She invited all veterans in attendance to consider taking part in this program as either a mentor, mentee or both. Holloway also provided information about a ‘Speed Mentoring for Veterans’ event that she is hosting with the NSWCDD Training Branch to be held Jan. 29 at the University of Mary Washington Dahlgren campus. NSWCDD employees who are veterans and interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee are encouraged to contact Holloway at Natasha.email@example.com or @nuholloway on Fusion.
Jeffries spoke about the congressional resolution passed in 1926 calling for an annual observance of Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
The resolution adopted by the United States Congress requested that U.S. President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of Nov. 11 with appropriate ceremonies known as Armistice Day.
Jeffries – who is the NSWCDD Electromagnetic Railgun Program principle for safety –pointed out that World War II veteran Raymond Weeks presented the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of a National Veterans Day. U.S. President Ronald Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing ‘Armistice’ with ‘Veterans’, and thus the day is called Veterans Day.