By Melissa Buckley and Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 7, 2023) — The Fort Leonard Wood community came together to celebrate the July Fourth holiday Tuesday on Gammon Field, with food, live music, dancing, a car show, military equipment displays and demonstrations, bounce houses, and one of the largest fireworks presentations in central Missouri.

But the celebration here actually started a few days earlier, on Saturday, when the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted its Red, White and Blue Golf Tournament at the Piney Valley Golf Course.

According to PVGC Manager Joe Mannuci, 40 two-person teams competed in this year’s event, which was divided into three flights, with the first-, second- and third-place finishers in each group receiving prizes.

Tuesday’s events began in the morning, when more than 250 people — and 12 dogs — turned out to participate in a 5k fun run/walk, starting at Davidson Fitness Center, said Coleman Swinton, DFMWR sports and fitness programmer, who thanked the FMWR staff and the volunteers from the Navy’s Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Detachment here, who helped make the event possible.

Later, in the afternoon on Gammon Field, more than 20 cars, trucks and motorcycles were on display and competing for trophies in categories, including best in show, best car, best truck and best motorcycle.

According to Mychell Finley, a recreational aid with FMWR’s Auto Skills Center, this year’s winners included Jon Byrom, for his 1966 Ford Mustang, in the best car category; Bryan McCallin, for his 2015 Triumph Bonneville T100, in the best motorcycle category; Stephanie White, for her 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon, in the best truck category; and Darren Swanson, for his 1937 Chevy 3100, in the best in show category.

In addition to the vehicles on display, visitors to Gammon Field also had the chance to watch two performances by the Kansas City Disc Dogs. The act, which involves dogs catching flying disks in a variety of formations, has been featured at the Fort Leonard Wood celebration several times previously, as well as at professional sporting events in Kansas City.

Providing live music for the festivities were Soldiers with the 399th Army Band, including a 25-member concert band, that performed a Salute to the Union presentation, and the Rough Riders rock band, that performed a mix of rock and country music up until the fireworks display.

Sgt. Tatiana Preziuso, the band’s senior operations NCO, said three soloists performed as well during the concert band performance.

“Sgt. Kevin Bressanelli performed ‘Thoughts of Love’ by Arthur Pryor on the trombone,” she said. “Then, Sgt. Daniel Deutsch performed ‘A Trumpeter’s Lullaby’ by Leroy Anderson on the trumpet. We also had Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Puls sing ‘Moon River’ by Henry Mancini. We performed another selection of various musical works from movies, and of course, patriotic selections like ‘America the Beautiful,’ a medley of armed forces songs and ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.’”

Sgt. James Motz, a 399th Army Band vocalist, called the performance “a fantastic experience,” adding the best part was watching people dance and enjoy the music.

“It was inspiring to see families coming together to create memories for their young ones and witnessing trainees’ pride in their decisions to become members of the all-volunteer force,” Motz said.

Visit the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Flickr page to view and download photos from each of Fort Leonard Wood’s Fourth of July events.

As the sun sets behind the stage Tuesday evening on Gammon Field, the 399th Army Band’s Rough Riders rock band perform a mix of rock and country songs prior to Fort Leonard Wood’s fireworks display during the installation’s Fourth of July celebration. (Photo by Caitlyn Marler, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation)












About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: