By Pat YoungJune 18, 2007
The United States Army turned 232 years old, Thursday, with ceremonies at home and abroad by Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
Hundreds of Soldiers and community members gathered at Club Stewart and other joined by video. Maj. General Rick Lynch, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, addressed those in attendance via video. He wished the Army a happy birthday, thanked Soldiers for their efforts, and asked for a moment of reflection regarding the Army's contributions.
"Dog Face Soldiers all around the world are protecting our freedoms and our way of life," Lynch said. "We have dog face Soldiers on freedom's frontier, making sure that the freedoms we enjoyed growing up, our children and their children will enjoy."
Lynch asked those in attendance to pause and reflect on the 232 years of service the Army provided to the nation.
The ceremony narrator, Jeff Fornshell, told those in attendance a little about the Army's history. He said during the course of the Army's existence, it fought to secure the nation's freedom in many battles and military campaigns. Denoting those campaigns, 176 battle streamers were attached to the Army's Colors.
During a symbolic reenactment of the original awarding of the battle streamers, the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander and Command Sergeant Major, Col. Todd Buchs and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles E. Durr added the streamers to the Army's Colors.
Sixteen were from the revolutionary war, six from the War of 1812, 10 from the Mexican War, 25 from the Civil War, 15 from the Indian Wars, three from the war with Spain, three for the China Relief Expedition, 11 from the Philippine Insurrection, one from the Mexican Expedition, 13 from World War I. In addition during World War II, one was from the American Theater, 21 from the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, 17 for action in the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater. Ten were added for the Korean War, 17 for Vietnam, three for the Armed Forces Expeditions, three for Southwest Asia and one for the Kosovo campaign.
After the streamers were added, Col. Buchs addressed those in attendance and shared some of his feelings regarding the occasion.
"From the American revolution to the global war on terror - American Soldiers have always been willing to put their "boots on the ground" and fight for the freedoms and the way of life we enjoy today, Buchs said. "Soldiers know they are members of a team dedicated to something much greater than self. Soldiers answer the call of duty for their character of their service. They are reenlisting in record numbers because their service is making a difference in the world."
Following Buchs remarks, he and Durr helped cut the Army's birthday cake, provided by the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division.
Assisting the colonel and command sergeant major were 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Lt. Charlene Smalls, and Private Refugio Figueroa, as the most junior officer and Soldier present.
"I first came into the Army to explore the opportunities the Army could offer, but since I've been in, I've progressed from there," Smalls said. "We have a great group of Soldiers. Everyone brings something different. And it's that, which makes us great."
Figueroa, who signed up a year ago joined for similar reason, said he has grown to respect his piers.
"My fellow Soldiers are good. Good to work with," Figueroa said. I respect their loyalty. They pick you up during hard times."
In Iraq, nearly 50 Soldiers expressed their commitment to the Army too.
A mass re-enlistment helped mark the occasion of the Army's Birthday, as 49 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers re-enlisted in front of the Task Force Marne headquarters on June 14.
Lynch and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse L. Andrews, Jr., 3rd ID command sergeant major, presided over the ceremony for the Soldiers.
(Pat Young writes for the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield newspaper, Frontline.)