Acting under Secretary of the Army, Christopher Lowman gives a coin to a distinguished Soldier of the cycle following the 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment Basic Combat Training graduation ceremony at Hilton Field April 29. (Photo Credit: Josephine Carlson)

By Josie Carlson, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

It was a big day for Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment. Not only were they graduating from Basic Combat Training but many had family members in attendance.

“Today marks a great day for the 193rd Brigade, the battalion and the Army Training Center, not only do we get to welcome over 650 new warriors to our ranks, for the first time in over a year we do so in front of a live audience,” said Lt. Col. Terrence Soule, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment commander.

This is the second graduation to allow guests since the installation switched to virtual graduations last year.

Soule went on to introduce the guest speaker, Acting Under Secretary of the Army, Christopher Lowman. “…we appreciate you taking time out of your buys schedule to attend today’s ceremony." Soule said. "Sir we’re honored by your presence.”

Lowman started his military career as a U.S. Marine in 1984 and entered the Army Civil Service as an Army Maintenance Management Intern in 1989. He has worked in numerous key assignments during more than 30 years of service.

Lowman became the senior official performing the duties of Under Secretary of the Army on Jan. 20, 2021. As the Under Secretary of the Army, Lowman is the Secretary of the Army’s senior civilian assistant and principal adviser on matters related to the management and operation of the Army.

“I want to recognize all of you, the trainees and thank you for enlisting in our Army and joining what is the greatest fighting force in the world today … With a couple of differences, I stood where you stand today. My parade field was at Parris Island, South Carolina,” Lowman said.

“It makes no difference whether you are a Soldier or a Marine, like many before us and many that will follow, we chose to undertake this journey,” he added. “You should be extremely proud to call yourself a U.S. Army Soldier.”

Lowman also spoke to the audience about all the Army has accomplished over the last year: Leading the nation’s response to COVID-19, protecting protesters’ rights to peacefully protest, supporting communities across the country in times of emergency, and lastly continuing to train and support combat operations despite COVID-19.

“You are joining an incredible Army and there is nothing like it in the world.”

Following the graduation Lowman spoke with the distinguished Soldiers of the cycle.

He also took some time to share his thoughts on his experience during his visit to Fort Jackson.

“It’s an opportunity to come down and witness the culmination of 10 weeks of training – converting American citizens from all 50 states and four territories as well as international folks into U.S. Soldiers, inculcating them in Army values, and really a demonstration of Army readiness.”

“At the end of the day people are the number one priority for the U.S. Army and it all starts here at Fort Jackson and similar basic training sites throughout the country.”