NATICK, Mass. (June 14, 2013) -- The Natick Soldier Systems Center observed the 238th Army Birthday with a June 14 cake-cutting ceremony in the state where it came into being in 1775.

Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, NSSC senior commander, flanked by Natick's oldest civilian employee, Bob Noonan, and its youngest Soldier, Pvt. 2 Tyler Holliday, carved the cake with a sword in a time-honored tradition.

"Today, we celebrate the 238th birthday of the finest army in the history of mankind," Hughes said. "We stand today less than 20 miles from the birthplace of our Army."

The Army was born when the Second Continental Congress "adopted" New England militia members around Boston who were opposing British troops. Congress provided $2 million to support them. George Washington took command of the Continental Army in Boston on July 3, 1775.

Dr. Jack Obusek, director of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, pointed out that the contributions made by civilians to the Army actually began during the American Revolution.

"It struck me that on that day in April 1775, the call went out, and who did it go out to?" Obusek said. "It went out to … the Minutemen, the militia, the civilians who heard the call and then would become part of the Continental Army.

"Those civilians continue to contribute with distinction today. They support, they sustain and, yes, provide technologies to the uniformed Soldiers. And I'm amazed every day at the contributions that those civilians make in developing those technologies and (the) new kit and those new capabilities for our Soldiers of tomorrow."

The celebration also served as a leadership transition at NSSC, with Hughes taking over from Obusek, who had served as interim senior manager. Obusek remains NSRDEC director.

"What a great officer and a great leader," said Obusek of Hughes. "I know it means bigger, greater, better things for the Natick Soldier Systems Center."

As Hughes pointed out, the citizen Army of the American Revolution grew into the strong, courageous, professional force of today.

"This 238th birthday commemorates America's Army -- Soldiers, families and civilians -- who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army strong," Hughes said. "We also celebrate our local community, which supports us in this."