Subscribe
Soldiers of the 191st Regional Support Group Forward, deployed from Fort Allen, Puerto Rico, are pictured here preparing to cut an Army birthday cake during a ceremony at the NATO Resolute Support mission headquarters dining facility on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Cake-cutters, from left, Lt. Col. Norberto Torres-Roca, Command Sgt. Maj. Andres Ruiz and Cpl. Ruby Cruz Quinones. Per tradition, Torres, 55, and Quinones, 24, were designated to cut the cake as the oldest and youngest soldiers present.

Soldiers of the 191st Regional Support Group Forward, deployed from Fort Allen, Puerto Rico, are pictured here preparing to cut an Army birthday cake during a ceremony at the NATO Resolute Support mission headquarters dining facility on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Cake-cutters, from left, Lt. Col. Norberto Torres-Roca, Command Sgt. Maj. Andres Ruiz and Cpl. Ruby Cruz Quinones. Per tradition, Torres, 55, and Quinones, 24, were designated to cut the cake as the oldest and youngest soldiers present. (Chad Garland/Stars and Stripes)

Soldiers of the 191st Regional Support Group Forward, deployed from Fort Allen, Puerto Rico, are pictured here preparing to cut an Army birthday cake during a ceremony at the NATO Resolute Support mission headquarters dining facility on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Cake-cutters, from left, Lt. Col. Norberto Torres-Roca, Command Sgt. Maj. Andres Ruiz and Cpl. Ruby Cruz Quinones. Per tradition, Torres, 55, and Quinones, 24, were designated to cut the cake as the oldest and youngest soldiers present.

Soldiers of the 191st Regional Support Group Forward, deployed from Fort Allen, Puerto Rico, are pictured here preparing to cut an Army birthday cake during a ceremony at the NATO Resolute Support mission headquarters dining facility on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Cake-cutters, from left, Lt. Col. Norberto Torres-Roca, Command Sgt. Maj. Andres Ruiz and Cpl. Ruby Cruz Quinones. Per tradition, Torres, 55, and Quinones, 24, were designated to cut the cake as the oldest and youngest soldiers present. (Chad Garland/Stars and Stripes)

The Army's birthday cake is seen at the NATO Resolute Support mission headquarters dining facility on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Army's birthday cake is seen at the NATO Resolute Support mission headquarters dining facility on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Chad Garland/Stars and Stripes)

KABUL, Afghanistan — The dining facility at NATO’s Resolute Support helped celebrate the Army’s 243rd birthday Thursday by dishing up an “all-American lunch” of prime rib, crab legs, baked potatoes, shrimp scampi and a massive sheet cake.

Deployed soldiers of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard’s 191st Regional Support Group Forward cut the first slice during a traditional cake-cutting ceremony.

Per tradition, the unit’s youngest and oldest soldiers — Cpl. Ruby Cruz Quinones, 24, and Lt. Col. Norberto Torres, 55 – helped cut the cake with a saber. Col. Ruben Bermudez, the unit’s top officer and enlisted soldier, and Command Sgt. Maj. Andres Ruiz also helped wield the sword used to dice up the dessert. After Lt. Col. Dwayne Keener, the chaplain, gave an invocation, the soldiers sang "The Army Goes Rolling Along."

The cake-cutting tradition is a reminder of the generations of soldiers who have served to make America stronger, Bermu-dez said, noting that the Army was founded in 1775, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

As the Forward Support Battalion, the Fort Allen, Puerto Rico-based unit helps run the dining facility, water purification, base security and morale programs at the Kabul headquarters. Bermudez said some of the 35 members of the Puerto Rico-based unit deployed here despite having lost everything in Hurricane Maria last fall.

“This is a service-oriented organization,” Bermudez said. “We’re here to serve others.”garland.chad@stripes.com Twitter: @chadgarland

author picture
Chad is a Marine Corps veteran who covers the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and sometimes elsewhere for Stars and Stripes. An Illinois native who’s reported for news outlets in Washington, D.C., Arizona, Oregon and California, he’s an alumnus of the Defense Language Institute, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Arizona State University.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up