June 13, 2011
By Erin O. Stattel, Army News Service
ARLINGTON, Va. – War fighting and humanitarian assistance are just a few of the roles some one million members of the U.S. Army play today, and has been for more than two hundred years.
The Army celebrates its 236th birthday this year, and the milestone calls for a full lineup of events to commemorate the many roles the Army fulfills, the most important being the strength of the nation.
“From the first battles at Lexington and Concord to the streets of Mosul and Kandahar, Soldiers have always defended freedom and epitomized what is best about America,” said the 37th Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Dempsey said that as the Army moves forward it will continue to be the strength of the nation.
“We will remain the nation’s decisive force, the clearest symbol of America’s commitment to freedom and the country’s preeminent leadership experience,” he said. “We will remain America’s Army, the strength of the nation.”
Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler reminded everyone that while the Army celebrates, there are Soldiers still engaged in theater.
“As we celebrate our Army’s birthday, remember that we still have more than 120,000 Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Chandler. “Happy birthday to those who make the Army what it is today, the premier fighting force in the free world. You are America’s Army and you are Army strong.”
New this year is the Army Birthday Baseball Bash, a nationwide celebration of game-day events that will give local baseball teams and their fans an opportunity to celebrate the Army’s birthday, as well as recognize the service and sacrifice made by Soldiers and their families. Teams such as the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians are slated to feature events highlighting the Army’s 236th birthday.
In the nation’s capital, the celebration kicks off with a formal black-tie ball June 11 and will highlight the Army’s most important role, the strength of the nation. The ball will feature entertainment from the Army Field Band and country music recording artist Phil Vassar. The events continue with a wreath- laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
What would a birthday be without birthday cake? The U.S. Army will have several cakes capping off the celebration, one presented at the Army Birthday Ball, a cake cutting ceremony in the Pentagon and another one on Capitol Hill. In fact, the cake cutting ceremonies will continue all around the world from U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan to West Point throughout the week.
Back in the Capital, the celebration will also feature precision and tradition with a Twilight Tattoo and performances from the 3rd Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, at Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall’s Whipple Field June 15. Finally, in true Army spirit, Soldiers can participate in the Army Birthday Run June 17. The route will make its way through Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall.
In the meantime, Army garrisons worldwide will be celebrating 236 years of strong service to the nation. At U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, Germany, the garrison commander and command sergeant major will read, “Happy Birthday U.S. Army,” to school children, and Fort Rucker is scheduled to host a series of concerts locally in Alabama to highlight the Army Birthday.
Congress created the Army June 14, 1775 and $2 million was allocated to support forces positioned around New York and Boston. Congress also voted to bring forth a uniform set of rules and regulations to the newly formed Army, and authorized the formation of 10 companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, who would later become known as the 1st Continental Regiment.
Soldiers, family members and Army civilians all over the United States and overseas will mark the Army’s 236th Birthday with celebrations of their own. We encourage you to share your own Army Birthday story with us by visiting the Army social media sites (Facebook /Twitter). Visit www.army.mil/birthday/236 for more information.