CAMP DARBY, Italy - Some things get better with age and, indeed, I'm happy to say that even well into its 235th year the U.S. Army is becoming more flexible, more innovative, better prepared to tackle the new challenges that we face.

The history of the U.S. Army stretches back to June 1775 and yet the United States would not be here today, as it is, without the courage and tenacity of those Citizen-Soldiers who against all odds -- and despite all of the hardships they faced -- followed through on the simple vow: that "We will be free."

The Army has made its mark in historical military campaigns from the bone-chilling blizzard as Washington crossed the Delaware, to Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Normandy, Guano Canal, Pusan, from the oppression of 9/11, to Operation Enduring Freedom to Operation Iraqi Freedom all the while following the mantra "we will be free."

Two hundred and thirty five years is a long time, and the soldiers of that first Army in 1775 would not even recognize the Army of today, much less the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Coast Guard and the Navy. It would be a completely different world to them.

The Army has changed remarkably. In fact, even soldiers of 10 or 20 years ago marvel at the speed of today's Army, at the lethality of today's Army. The Army of 10 years from now will be as astonishing to those of you serving today.

I can remember training at National Training Center (NTC) or Fort Irwin, Calif., in 1978. From our deploying and sustaining tactics then to where we are now is astonishing. I can remember wearing the banana suit; it was the best high neon yellow physical training uniform the Army ever acquired.

To the men and women who serve in U.S. Army, I certainly want to join in thanking you for your truly outstanding service to our country. You are doing noble work. Your country is deeply grateful to you. Our humanitarian efforts whether at home and abroad by active duty, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers is just a prime example of the tradition of service to the world by US Army.

Since our early days, through the generations that followed, and amid the conflicts, hardships, millions of Americans have risked what the Founders called "their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor," They risked it to defend America's ideals and its missions. History of caring - "We will be free."

Every man and woman serving in Army uniform is helping to write a new chapter in that glorious history. For "The ultimate measure of a man or woman is not where he or she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he or she stands at times of challenge and controversy." We will never forget our fallen comrades.

Always Be Army Strong. May God bless the men and women in the United States Army; and 235th Birthday of the U.S. Army.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CW5 Robert L Carter is the chief of Quality Assurance for 3rd Battalion 405th Army Field Support Battalion at Camp Darby, Italy. He was born in Sylvania, Ga., and has served for 33 years to include combat tours in Iraq.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16