June 18, 2014 -- CSA remarks at Pentagon cake-cutting ceremony

By Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray OdiernoJune 23, 2014

Good morning. What a great day to celebrate the 239th birthday of the United States Army. As I stand here today, and as I think about what this is about, I think about the 187 battle streamers that adorn the Army colors and the sacrifice that so many men gave in order to ensure that this country remains free.

The one thing that we all know about the Army is the Army is about Soldiers. It is about the families that support those Soldiers. I think about the initial Soldiers who, even before we were a nation, stood up to establish this great nation of ours, the greatest nation on earth.

I think about those who had to hold the nation together during our Civil War. I think about those who answered the call over there in World War I to bring Europe back together. I was reminded just two weeks ago about all of those men and women, the millions of Soldiers who sacrificed themselves to change the course of history as they fought in Europe, landed in Normandy, returned liberty and freedom to many nations, and secured the freedom of this country. I think about those who responded to bring stability on the Korean Peninsula. I think about those who fought with honor in Vietnam. I think about those Soldiers and their families who sacrificed so much during those times.

Then I bring myself to today. As I stand here today, I think about the thousands of Soldiers right now who are standing point in Afghanistan. I think about Soldiers who are in Honduras. I think about Soldiers doing humanitarian operations and building capacity in Africa. I think about those Soldiers who are currently in Eastern Europe assuring our allies every single day, 600 Airborne Soldiers, assuring four nations about our commitment. I think about the sacrifice that goes on every day by our families supporting their loved ones, the men and women who serve this great Army of ours because they believe in liberty and freedom.

That is what today is about. It is about celebrating all of those who are willing to raise their right hand and swear an oath to the Constitution of the United States because they believe in this country. It is about all of those Soldiers who are the foundation of our joint operations around the world wherever it might be. It is about the young men and women of today who stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, who understand the importance of competence, commitment, and character.

That is what we represent. Because of that, I am proud to stand here today in front of you in this uniform. Having the opportunity to work with 1.1 million Soldiers in the Active, Guard, and Reserve, who everyday are willing to sacrifice themselves for our nation. In just a few minutes, we are going to have the opportunity to re-enlist some Soldiers who want to continue to serve, who want to continue to be part of our Army family.

That is what the 239th birthday represents. So thank you so much for being here. Thank you for sharing this great day with us as we celebrate who we are, the greatest Army in the world.

The strength of our nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. The strength of our Soldiers is our families. That is what makes us Army Strong. Thank you very much. Happy Birthday, U.S. Army.