History of the Bluebonnet Ball

Story by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th SC(E) Public Affairs

Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), at that time the 13th Corps Support Command, sponsored the command's annual Bluebonnet Ball, a western-themed event with country music, dancing and barbeque.

With the onset of the Global War on Terrorism and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, however, the Ball was canceled. Many of the command's Soldiers were deployed, so the leadership decided to wait until a majority of the SC(E) had returned home before it held its next ball.

"Traditionally, the COSCOM hosted this event on an (annual) basis," said Lt. Col. Phil Visser, Rear Deputy Commander of the 13th COSCOM in 2004, during the 2005 Bluebonnet Ball. "The last couple of years, however, we haven't had it due to deployments."

As many of the SC(E)'s Soldiers began returning to Fort Hood, command leaders decided it was time to renew the tradition of the Bluebonnet Ball. In April, 2005, Soldiers of the 13th SC(E) were once again invited to share in this command tradition.

"It's just a great opportunity to get together and share some Texas tradition, some barbeque, and dance a little bit," said Visser.

The 2005 Bluebonnet Ball was a unique event, with approximately 700 Soldiers from throughout the command attending. For the first time in the history of the ball, COSCOM Idol was held, a spin-off of a nationally syndicated television show. Battalion commanders and command sergeants major sang alongside junior enlisted, after which votes were cast in the form of applause for the most talented contestants.

Friday, senior personnel will continue the Bluebonnet tradition at Jack's Barn in Salado, said Capt. Sheryll Attilee of the 2nd Chemical Battalion's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.

This year's event will include live entertainment and square dancing, said Attilee, as well as dance lessons and several contests.