Taking the Oath
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) David Valcourt administers the Oath of Enlistment to 40 Future Soldiers from the Boston recruiting company during the Natick Soldier Systems Center's celebration of the Army's 236th Birthday.

The Natick Soldier Systems Center celebrated the Army’s 236th birthday June 14 with guest of honor Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) David Valcourt and 40 future Soldiers.

“It’s very fitting today that we have the opportunity to celebrate the Army’s birthday here at its birthplace, here where it was born,” said Natick Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Frank Sobchak.

“Take a good look at these men and women here today,” Valcourt said. “They are not raising their hands today to commit because they are running from something. In fact, they’re doing just the opposite, and they’re running to something, a life meaningful in purpose and rich in Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage even to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice.”

Comments by these future Soldiers demonstrated their patriotism.

“I wanted to have self-worth,” said Rylee Elliott, 17, of Lowell, Mass. “I want to know that when I’m older, I’ll have done something with my life, I’ve done something meaningful, and I will be proud of that. I’m excited to test my limit.”

With steadfast commitment, these Soldiers stood tall and recited their commitment to not only serving their country, but serving its individuals.

“Being a Soldier means a few things for me,” said Daniel Dramiga, 27, of Lynn, Mass. “It’s going to make me a better husband, father, and person, not only for myself but for society, and that’s all that matters to me.”

The future Soldiers were there not only to celebrate the Army’s birth, but also to reaffirm their enlistment in front of their family, friends, and the workforce on this very special day.

“Today we stand in witness of America’s next greatest generation,” Valcourt said. “Without question, today we have the most seasoned, combat-hardened, ready Army we have ever had in this country. These 40-plus future Soldiers here this morning are every bit as remarkable and governable as the Minutemen of this state many years ago.

“They are part of that two percent that raise their hand to support, serve and defend that other 98 percent whose awareness and appreciation of that selfless commitment of today’s Soldier and his or her family is not always highly recognized.”

Valcourt took time to recognize NSSC employees who help these fearless Soldiers.

“You must be proud of who you see in the mirror each and every morning,” Valcourt said. “Your passion to provide the best-equipped and maintained Soldier on the battlefield makes a difference to each and every Soldier, and it certainly makes a difference to their families, who pray for their safe return.”

Throughout the Army’s 236 years, it has been constantly evolving and changing to best serve the country.

“Today, our Army team has a much different look,” Valcourt said. “It is about our Soldier, but it is also about our Department of Army civilians and even contractors, and many of them raise their hand and deploy, as well, to support our Soldiers. Here at Natick, that is readily apparent. It is clear that you support the Soldier.”

“Taking that uniform off does not change how you feel inside,” reminisced Valcourt, a Soldier of 37 years. “Poor is the nation that has no heroes, shameful and despicable is the one that has them and forgets them. We don’t forget our heroes.”

Page last updated Thu June 16th, 2011 at 00:00