Maj. Gen. James M. Milano
Maj. Gen. James M. Milano is Fort Jackson's commanding general.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- In a few days, the Army will celebrate its 236th birthday. Like a fine wine, our Army adds distinction with age. For more than two centuries, our Army has been synonymous with our nation’s strength in preserving peace and freedom. No other fighting force in the world can make that claim.

Today’s U.S. Army is highly skilled, and our Soldiers have the very best equipment, training and leadership. Nevertheless, present-day Soldier missions are not much different than they were back in the colonial times " the fighting spirit and values are very similar. Today’s Soldiers, who are driven by the Warrior Ethos, defend our constitution and the freedoms it guarantees to each and every American. Back in the Revolutionary period, the Army was fighting for our right to be free.

Of course, there are many more variables today that our forefathers could have never envisioned. On June 14, 1775, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the strength of our nation was the Army. In turn, the strength of our Army was measured in terms of Soldiers and their families who together fought the tyranny and oppression. The Soldiers " many of whom were farmers, merchants and tradesmen with no fighting experience " relied solely on a determination embedded deep in their hearts to fuel the fight for freedom.

In the next 236 years, Soldiers continued to maintain their tremendous strength of character and their resolve, fighting to ensure freedom would prevail in the face of a civil war, two world wars and numerous conflicts around the world.

The worst attacks on American soil, the horrific events of 9/11, which occurred nearly 10 years ago, only solidified those feelings and reinforced our resolve. To volunteer and serve in an Army that is often deployed in areas of persistent conflict demands incredible amounts of personal courage and a dedication to selfless service.

Today we still have about 120,000 Soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they continue to set the conditions for increased security and stability in that part of the world. In the past decade, our Soldiers have been repeatedly tested, and as a result, have emerged stronger with a deeper commitment to the Army as a profession.
Our profession of arms is something to note, because in this vocation, we are an Army driven by creativity and innovation. As such, we focus beyond where we are today to prepare and train Soldiers for the future operations of the ever-changing world. We are constantly modernizing our technology and equipment to ensure that we retain our fighting edge.

As we celebrate 236 years of the United States Army, we take pride that we are part of this great heritage. Remember that this is more than a celebration of an institution " it is a celebration of the people who helped make our Army what it is today. We stand on the shoulders of countless Soldiers who sacrificed greatly on our behalf.

I would be remiss not to mention the Army families for their tremendous sacrifices in the past 236 years. Families have always played a critical role and have made tremendous sacrifices all throughout the Army’s gloried past. As an example, during the Revolutionary War, wives and daughters even manned cannons in support of their Soldiers. We’ve come a long way since then, but today’s families provide that same kind of “fire support” in all that they do: volunteering, sacrificing, “manning” the home front while their Soldier is deployed, etc. We wouldn’t be as good as we are without them.

I commend all Soldiers and Army family members for your service and hope that you savor this significant day and realize all that it represents. The Army’s birthday is a time to celebrate our heritage and our Army Values.

It’s also a time to look back toward the starting point so that we can gauge just how far we have traveled.

Happy Birthday, United States Army!

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!

Page last updated Sun June 12th, 2011 at 17:32