• Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno re-enlists 13 Soldiers, June 19, 2014, in the Pentagon courtyard, during a cake-cutting celebration of the Army's 239th birthday.

    CSA Re-enlists Solders

    Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno re-enlists 13 Soldiers, June 19, 2014, in the Pentagon courtyard, during a cake-cutting celebration of the Army's 239th birthday.

  • From left: Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno; Col. Arthur Wittich, an Army physician, the oldest Soldier serving in the Military District of Washington; Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work; Secretary of the Army John McHugh; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III; and Pvt. French, the youngest Soldier in the MDW; along with Washington Nationals mascot George Washington, cut the Army cake in a Pentagon ceremony, June 19, 2104, in celebration of the Army's 239th birthday.

    Cutting the cake

    From left: Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno; Col. Arthur Wittich, an Army physician, the oldest Soldier serving in the Military District of Washington; Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work; Secretary of the Army John McHugh; Sgt. Maj. of the...

  • Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals mascots, The Racing Presidents, helped the Army celebrate its 239th birthday at a Pentagon celebration, June 19, 2014. From left to right, the Racing Presidents are: George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

    Washington Nationals Racing Presidents

    Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals mascots, The Racing Presidents, helped the Army celebrate its 239th birthday at a Pentagon celebration, June 19, 2014. From left to right, the Racing Presidents are: George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt...

  • A Soldier enjoys pizza and chicken wings in the Pentagon courtyard where the Army celebrated its 239th birthday with a cake-cutting, June 19, 2014.

    Pizza & Wings

    A Soldier enjoys pizza and chicken wings in the Pentagon courtyard where the Army celebrated its 239th birthday with a cake-cutting, June 19, 2014.

  • Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III congratulates Soldiers following their re-enlistments in the Pentagon courtyard. June 19, 2014, while celebrating the Army's 239th birthday with a cake-cutting ceremony.

    CSA congratulates reenlistees

    Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III congratulates Soldiers following their re-enlistments in the Pentagon courtyard. June 19, 2014, while celebrating the Army's 239th birthday with a cake-cutting ceremony.

  • Soldiers serve pieces of cake in the Pentagon courtyard following a cake-cutting ceremony, June 19, 2014, in celebration of the Army's 239th birthday.

    Let them eat cake

    Soldiers serve pieces of cake in the Pentagon courtyard following a cake-cutting ceremony, June 19, 2014, in celebration of the Army's 239th birthday.

  • In celebration of the Army's 239th birthday at the Pentagon, one of the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents -- George Washington -- crosses the finish line first. Of course the real Washington was the Army's first commanding general and later as the president he was the first commander-in-chief.

    George crosses first

    In celebration of the Army's 239th birthday at the Pentagon, one of the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents -- George Washington -- crosses the finish line first. Of course the real Washington was the Army's first commanding general and later as the...

  • Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno speaks before a crowd of Soldiers and civilians who came to join in the celebration of the Army's 239th birthday in the Pentagon courtyard, June 19, 2014.

    CSA speaks

    Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno speaks before a crowd of Soldiers and civilians who came to join in the celebration of the Army's 239th birthday in the Pentagon courtyard, June 19, 2014.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 23, 2014) -- The only thing standing in the way of Joseph A. Powell enlisting in the Army was his braces.

"I had to wait one year. It was the most depressing year of my life," Powell said.

In 2008, Powell was finally able to enlist in the Army along with his twin brother, Joshua M. Powell.

On June 19, 2014, the two brothers, along with 11 other Soldiers, re-enlisted during a ceremony in the Pentagon courtyard. The event coincided with celebrations in honor of the Army's 239th birthday.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno opened up the ceremony by reflecting on the Army's history.

"I think about the initial Soldiers who, even before we were a nation, stood up to establish the greatest nation on earth," Odierno said. "I think about the men and women today who would sacrifice themselves in order to change the course of history."

Odierno acknowledged the sacrifice and support from families of Soldiers.

"[Those families] believe in liberty and freedom. That's what today is about. It's about celebrating all of those who are willing to raise their right hand and swear an oath to the Constitution of the United States."

"The strength of our nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. And the strength of our Soldiers is our families -- that's what makes us Army Strong," Odierno said.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh highlighted other recent celebrated anniversaries: Francis Scott Key wrote Star-Spangled Banner 200 years ago, as of this year. On June 6, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy took place 70 years ago, and June 15 marked the 150th year that Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, was designated the first national cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery has stood as a solemn reminder of the true cost of war and just how much our soldiers have sacrificed for this country, McHugh said.

"For 239 years this Army has honored that legacy by defending freedom and keeping peace whenever and wherever the call has been raised. That is a legacy. Your legacy," McHugh said.

This year's guest speaker was Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work.

"Whenever your nation has called, the Army has answered, and answered willingly," Work said. "We confront some very complex security threats and challenges in our world today. Our nation is going to require an Army that is just as adaptable, just as versatile, just as ready and just as lethal. An Army that can go anywhere, fight anywhere, and defeat any and all adversaries, wherever they may be."

There is no greater public service than what Soldiers do for this country, Work said.

Following Work's remarks, Odierno conducted the re-enlistment for the 13 soldiers. Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), performed the Soldiers' Creed before the oldest and youngest Soldiers present participated in cutting an Army birthday cake.

Master Sgt. Angela Martin was one of the 13 soldiers to re-enlist.

"I re-enlisted because I am a career Soldier," she said. "This is what I want to do. I'm just happy to be here, to serve my country, with other men and women willing to do the same."

(For more ARNEWS stories, visit www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService)

Page last updated Mon June 23rd, 2014 at 00:00