NEW YORK (Army News Service, June 13, 2014) -- The United States Army and the people of New York City today commemorated the Army's 239th birthday, which is June 14, and celebrated this year's theme -- "America's Army: Our Profession."

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno delivered the keynote address during the event held today in Bryant Park, Manhattan. Odierno thanked the people of New York City for opening their arms to the Army as it celebrates its 239th year.

During the event, approximately 20 future Soldiers were sworn into the Army by Odierno.

Alongside Odierno, Col. Thomas Palmatier, a 37-year veteran and native of Ballston Spa, N.Y., and Pvt. Naiquan Walker, with the 69th Infantry Regiment, New York Army National Guard, took part in a cake-cutting ceremony. Traditionally, senior leaders cut into the cake with one of the Army's longest-serving Soldiers and one of its newest Soldiers by their side.

The birthday cake used during the event was donated by the International Culinary Center of Soho, N.Y. The ICC is a veteran-friendly institution that offers a $5 million Military Scholarship Program that provides tuition assistance to veterans of the United States armed forces.

The celebration included performances by the U.S. Army Band Downrange, U.S. Army Drill Team, 3d Infantry (The Old Guard), The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the U.S. Military Academy's Hellcats, the USO Show Troupe and more.

Not to be forgotten were the Soldiers currently deployed.

"As we sit here today, I ask you to think about the thousands of men and women who are deployed and away from their families, and say a little prayer for them as they continue to protect our freedoms," Odierno said.

For more information about the Army's 239th birthday go to www.army.mil/birthday/239

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