PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Army celebrated its 242nd birthday June 14 during the annual Stripes and Stars Festival outside of Independence Hall.
Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command, served as guest speaker during the ceremony and administered the oath of enlistment to dozens of Army recruits.
"Our Army is celebrating 242 years of young men and women taking an oath to serve our country and represent our freedoms to the best of their abilities," Kok said. "I want to thank all of our veterans from all of our wars for the selfless service they've given to our nation above and beyond the call of duty."
Joining Kok as keynote speaker for the event was retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, president and CEO of the Association of the United States Army and former commander of U.S. Africa Command.
"On this 242nd birthday of America's Army, let's celebrate our heritage; let's remember those who came before us, those who set this nation free and have kept it free," Ham said. "The Army of today remains the preeminent Army on the face of the planet; today's Soldiers march in the footsteps of the giants who came before."
Kok also participated in a naturalization ceremony at the Betsy Ross House here, welcoming 13 new U.S. citizens.
"My grandparents emigrated and came over to this great country to make a life for themselves, and it's from that life that they've given me the opportunity to serve this great country," Kok said.
The U.S. Army's mission is to fight and win the nation's wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.
America's Army Reserve supports this mission by generating combat-ready units and Soldiers for the Army and Joint Warfighter that are trained, equipped and lethal to win the nation's wars.
"We are in the greatest country on the face of this earth," Kok said. "What a privilege it is to serve in this Army."
The day's events were sponsored by the William Penn Chapter of the AUSA and the Philadelphia Flag Day Association.