WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 3, 2009) -- Together with members of local communities, Army Soldiers, civilians and family members will join to celebrate the Army's birthday on June 14, with events throughout the month, highlighting the Army's Noncommissioned Officer Corps, the support of Army families, and the unity the Nation represents.

"Nearly 234 years ago, America's Army was born out of the need to defend a nation," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston. "Our Army and our Soldiers continue that mission today, and continue to be the Strength of the Nation."

The Army also celebrates the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer this year. According to the NCO creed, NCOs are known for their professionalism, competence, and being the backbone of the Army.

"The NCO Corps is the reason behind our success on the battlefield today and is the standard to which other nations' armies aspire," said Preston.

This year's Army Birthday Ball - set for Saturday, June 13, at the Hilton Washington Hotel starting at 7 p.m. - will have the 2008 NCO of the Year Staff Sgt. Michael Noyce Merino as the Master of Ceremonies.

Other Army Birthday events include an Army Strong Experience, June 2 to 4, at Fort Meade, Md. The "Army Experience" is for roughly 25 to 30 influencers, who will conduct tandem jumps with the Golden Knights, fire a variety of weapons with the Army Marksmanship Unit, and view interactive displays while networking with Soldiers and leaders.

The annual cake-cutting ceremony at the Pentagon's courtyard is scheduled for June 12 at 11:30 a.m. with Preston, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. The courtyard will have displays, including Brigade Combat Team Modernization, PEO Soldier and military vehicles.

Saturday, June 13, Preston and Casey will host a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, and former chiefs and sergeants major of the Army will place wreaths at headstones following the cemetery.

Also on June 13, the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, will begin a cross-country re-enactment and commemoration of the 1919 transcontinental convoy the Military Transportation Corps undertook to test the endurance of military personnel and their vehicles with an event on the Ellipse. Some of the vehicles, including a Korean War Jeep M38, a Jeep GPW, a Viet Nam Was Jeep M151, a Dodge WC56, a WW II Harley WLA motorcycle, a M38A1 and a Ford sedan staff car, will be on display at the Pentagon, June 12.

The Army's birthday is not only a time to recognize the hard work and dedication of NCOs and celebrate everything the Army represents, but it is also a time to acknowledge the support of Army families.

"Our Soldiers and families know what's at stake in this struggle, and they are making a difference every day," said Casey.

Book readings will take place at child development centers nationwide, including Forts Myer and Belvoir, Va., and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The Fort Myer book reading is scheduled for June 15 at 2:30 p.m., Fort Belvoir's will take place June 18 at 10:00 a.m. and Walter Reed's is scheduled for June 17 at 9:30 a.m.

Fort Myer will also host a Twilight Tattoo on Whipple Field beginning at 7: 15 p.m. the same day, which will include a military pageant featuring The Old Guard, The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the U.S. Army Drill Team, the U.S. Army Blues, as well as performance from a soloist from the U.S. Army Chorus and members of the U.S. Army Band downrange.

In case of inclement weather, the tattoo will move to Conmy Hall.