FORT BENNING, Ga. - Basic trainees and cadre members of 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, celebrated the Army birthday June 14 during a ceremony on Sand Hill.

The anniversary, which coincides with Flag Day, represents 235 years of Army history, begun in 1775 with the Continental Army, and the celebration marked the first time the battalion participated in the annual tradition, said SSG Jim Fequiere, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Bn., 47th Inf. Regt.

Like others who have come before them, the Soldiers of this battalion have answered the call to serve, Fequiere said.

"If you reflect on it, when we celebrate our Army's birthday, we really celebrate the ideals and convictions this nation was founded upon," he said. "Similarly, we celebrate the call of duty that has echoed throughout our nation's history to every American man and woman that has ever served. From the blood-soaked battlefield of Antietam ... all the way to the current OIF and OEF campaign, the U.S. Army has paid for its victory with the blood of its patriots."

The Panther Battalion wrapped up the ceremony with the traditional cutting of the Army birthday cake.

The youngest and oldest trainees, PVT Travis Sayles and PFC Ramon Bruce, respectively, both from C Company, cut the cake with the help of battalion commander LTC Wayne Brewster II.
Brewster said he plans to continue the birthday tradition next year.

"At it's heart, we are simply trying to honor those in our Army who have gone before us and sacrificed so much in defense of our Constitution, its ideals and preserving our nation and way of life," he said.

"We are - and have been for 235 years - the recipients of such freedoms and liberties based on their brave actions and determined spirit to sacrifice everything to obtain and protect it. These things are often easy for us to forget. It's important for us here at the initial entry level to be able to instill that memory and those wonderful traditions in our new Soldiers that have joined our profession of service to the nation."

Angela Chopper, who brought her two children to the celebration, said it was "more than just free cake at 6:30 in the morning."

"It's good for them to hear the ceremony," she said. "In our last battalion, we never did anything for the Army birthday - this is cool. I liked the tradition of the oldest and the youngest. And the basic trainees get to experience their first Army birthday. They're now part of the 235-year Army tradition."