ARLINGTON, Virginia – Approximately 120 Department of the Army Inspector General (DAIG) Soldiers, civilian employees and family members gathered in Crystal City, Virginia, to celebrate the holidays and the 245th birthday of the Army Inspector General system.
Lt. Gen. Donna W. Martin, the 67th Inspector General of the Army, led the festivities and thanked the DAIG members for their contributions.
“For 245 years, the Army has relied on trained, professional inspectors general to enhance readiness and help our Army meet all challenges,” Martin said.
The Army Inspector General system was created by the Continental Congress on Dec. 13, 1777, at the request of Gen. George Washington. The fourth inspector general, Major General (Baron) Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a former Prussian officer, assumed office in May 1778 and is widely credited as the first effective inspector general.
“First and foremost, General von Steuben earned Washington’s confidence by formulating common standards upon which to drill the troops and to standardize their actions on the battlefield,” said Dr. Stephen Rusiecki, the deputy commandant of the Inspector General School.
Von Steuben defined the role of inspectors general and took charge of training the battered, disorganized and undisciplined Continental Army. He started by training the best noncommissioned officers available, who then trained their subordinates. By the summer of 1778, the Continental Army began to emerge as a viable fighting force, and von Steuben’s efforts were crucial to the ultimate defeat of the British.
Von Steuben also wrote “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States,” the first Army regulation. His book remained the official Army training guide until the War of 1812.
Sgt. Maj. Larry Orvis, the Inspector General sergeant major, said, “Von Steuben played an outsized role in the development of the Army NCO corps. He standardized Army tactical procedures and gave NCOs the authority to train – and enforce – those standards.”
Since then, the Army IG’s primary missions are in support of the Army’s people and readiness. Inspectors general are assigned to all division-level and higher commands, as well as the National Guard of each state and territory.
“I am incredibly proud of the work our IGs perform on a daily basis. I see the legacy of General von Steuben in everything they do,” Martin said.
Inspectors general are always ready to help Soldiers, family members and Department of the Army civilians solve problems relating to pay, leave, administrative issues, housing, allegations of misconduct and a host of other issues. If a request for assistance doesn’t fall under the purview of the IG, the IG will refer the requester to the appropriate authority.
Per Army regulation 20-1, no one can tell a person they can’t speak to an IG; however, IGs highly encourage people to attempt to resolve issues with their chains of command first.
Department of the Army IG website: https://ig.army.mil
245th IG DB shoutouts: https://www.dvidshub.net//video/867162/daig-245th-birthday