I’d like to welcome the entire community here today to commemorate this year’s Army Heritage Month and – I recognize a little bit early – the 247th birthday of the United States Army and 247 years of service to our nation by Americans of all kinds.
I’d like to give Master Sgt. Calderon a round of applause for coordinating this event, and Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Melina Cowan for generously donating this amazing looking cake.
The Army is one of the oldest institutions in our country. Born on June 14, 1775, when the Army was established by the Continental Congress, the Army is a year older than the Declaration of Independence and 13 years older than the Constitution. For 247 years the U.S. Army has answered the call to support and defend America against enemies both foreign and domestic, and I have no doubt we'll continue to do so into the future. The efforts of our Soldiers – whether they are active duty, National Guard or Reserve – are all the more remarkable because we do so voluntarily. In fact, it's worth mentioning that this is the 50th year since our nation became an all-volunteer force.
So, today we celebrate an Army of selfless men and women, who have not been drafted, but have chosen to serve their nation.
Although not imagined by our forefathers, today’s Army has a global reach and unmatched ability to conduct operations anywhere in the world. We see that clearly in our mission here in Vicenza. So far this year, our Soldiers have deployed on short notice to different theaters, different countries and different continents - always to support and defend the United States, our national interests, and our allies.
Since its inception, the U.S. military has not fought a war alone. In fact, we would not likely be here were it not for alliances in our earliest conflicts. We are stronger when we rely on partner nations and our allies to support, maneuver, and execute together. It’s in that spirit that we are here today, and not holding this event on the 14th. Because like much of the Command – we will be traveling in support of African Lion 2022.
Training and exercising have always been part of our legacy, from Washington’s time to our own. This is a legacy that we are now honored to continue over the next few months. African Lion will be a unique opportunity to train with our allies and partners, both European and African.
Ultimately, the lessons we learn there, the relationships we build, will benefit us all.
The Army's legacy has been built on our storied 247 years of history, displayed in the dedication, courage and heroism of the American Soldier. The Army remains ready to compete globally, and to fight and win the nation’s wars. So here’s to 247 years of service. Happy Birthday to the United States Army.