EDITOR'S NOTE: More photos can be found at Fort Knox celebrates Army 248th Birthday June 14, 2023 | Flickr.
FORT KNOX, Ky. — “The Army, being the oldest and largest of the services, is the strength of our nation.”
The longest serving Sergeant Major of the Army in its history, Kenneth Preston said that strength comes from the men and women who serve. He joined thousands of Fort Knox Soldiers and civilians June 14 to celebrate the Army’s 248th birthday.
The celebration included a run and two cake cutting ceremonies.
“When you look at our Army right now with over 144,000 Soldiers stationed and forward based all around the world, they are America’s ambassadors,” said Preston after a cake cutting ceremony at the Saber & Quill. “They’re out there making a difference and building relationships.”
Major Gen. Johnny Davis, commanding general of U.S. Army Recruiting Command and Fort Knox kicked off the fanfare with an early morning run that brought several Soldiers, civilians, family members and their pets out in full force.
Davis gave a shoutout to each major unit and organization in attendance.
“Happy 248th Army Birthday!” Davis exclaimed. “Let’s give it a round of applause. This is a beautiful day; I think last year was 108 degrees.”
Davis noted that the day was also a celebration of 50 years of the all-volunteer force.
“You’re part of that,” Davis said. “You’re leading our nation right now.”
While Davis and Preston attended the cake cutting at the Saber & Quill, Fort Knox Garrison Commander Col. Lance O’Bryan and his top noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Maj. Sherman Waters Jr., participated in a cake cutting ceremony at the Cantigny Dining Facility.
Preston, who served as Sergeant Major of the Army for over seven years from 2004 to 2011, said much of what has made the U.S. Army one of the greatest military forces in the world has been a desire among members of the all-volunteer force to selflessly serve the nation.
“Serving is an honor,” said Preston. “I’ve always considered the Army an honor to serve in, from my time as a young tank commander all the way up through the NCO support channel. It’s really about serving those who serve in the Army.”
Preston said the renewed “Be All You Can Be” slogan aligns perfectly with what matters most in today’s Army.
“I’m hoping as more and more of the campaign rolls on we continue to inspire young men and women out there every day,” said Preston. “Just as it inspired me throughout my career to want to serve, I hope it inspires others to want to be something bigger than themselves.”
He said the heart of Army service is about Soldiers defending three areas.
“Just as our motto says, ‘This We’ll Defend,’ we’ll defend the flag, we’ll defend the Constitution, and we’ll defend the American people.”
Davis echoed Preston’s sentiments before calling the massive installation-wide formation to attention to start the morning run.
“Thanks for all you do, thank you for your service,” said Davis, “and thanks for carrying this wonderful service into the future.”