By Allen Shaw, Fort Wainwright PAOJune 6, 2013
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - It was a ragtag group of volunteers pieced together from a few New England militia companies. They were an amateur force of colonial troops with no unified chain of command, with some men taking the lead and others who were not obligated to obey orders. This collection of American volunteers banded together in the spring of 1775 to confront British troops near Boston, Mass., to fight for freedom.
When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies. They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders. The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for and supported by the colonies from which they were raised.
In the spring of 1775 this "army" was about to confront British troops near Boston. The revolutionaries had to reorganize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain's seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army. Reportedly, at John Adams' request, Congress voted to "adopt" the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision. Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee "to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army," and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City. Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of 10 companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia.
George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775.
Soldiers, Family members and Department of Defense civilians will gather during a variety of events June 14, on and off post to celebrate the 238th Army birthday. Maj. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commander, United States Army Alaska, will lead a run around Ladd Army Airfield from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., followed by a cake-cutting in front of the Headquarters building at 11:30 a.m.. The library will sponsor a story hour at 4 p.m. and the Association of the United States Army will host a celebratory cruise aboard the Riverboat Discovery at 6:30 p.m.
Army leadership encourages all Americans to commemorate the beginning of a rich heritage of successfully defending this great country and celebrate the continued honor, loyalty and bravery of our Soldiers.
It is known that our Soldiers remain Army Strong with a deep commitment to our core values and beliefs. This 238th birthday commemorates America's Army -- Soldiers, Families and civilians -- who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army Strong.
It is also a time to celebrate our local communities for their steadfast, continued support of our Soldiers and Families.
We are "America's Army: The Strength of the Nation."