By Walter T. Ham IV, 8th U.S. Army Public AffairsJune 15, 2009
SEOUL - During the Army birthday celebration here June 12, the commander of all American Soldiers on the Korean peninsula recognized Army NCOs for their leadership.
Citing the acknowledgement the U.S. Army is giving to its enlisted leaders in 2009 during "the Year of NCO," 8th U.S. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr. praised Army NCOs, on and off the Korean peninsula.
"This year, we are squeezing 234 years worth of gratitude into 12 months to honor the leaders who are the backbone of our Army - the NCOs," said Fil. "Army NCOs occupy that important piece of real estate where the boots meet the ground. The best plans aren't worth much without the right leaders on the ground to make them work."
Fil also emphasized the 8th U.S. Army's enduring commitment to the ROK-U.S. Alliance. He said the alliance's continued readiness has been and will remain the key to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and throughout the region.
"As combat veterans know, the best war is the one you never have to fight. So we continue to train together with our Korean allies to stay ready for all possible contingencies, to stay ready to deter aggression, to stay ready to fight and win," said Fil. "The surest way to have a peaceful tomorrow is to remain ready to fight tonight."
The general said the Army birthday ball was an opportunity to reflect the service's accomplishments.
"From muskets to machine guns, the U.S. Army has grown from a small band of determined patriots into a global force for good, serving in more than 120 countries," he said.
Calling the United States Army the preeminent land power in the world, he said that the strength of the Army comes from its people and the strength of its people comes from their shared sense of resolve.
"We confront the dangers, discomforts and hardships of our profession of arms together," said Fil, "and we derive our collective strength from these collective experiences."
"We are Army Strong because we stand tall together. We are Army Strong because we serve a cause greater than ourselves. We are Army Strong because we believe in our great nation strongly enough to defend it."
Founded on June 10, 1944, the 8th U.S. Army liberated more 60 islands during World War II, served as the occupation force in Japan and repelled communist aggression in Korea.
The United States Army was founded on June 14, 1775, by the Continental Congress.