Individuals and units across the world celebrated the Army birthday Tuesday, marking its 236th anniversary. Events in the nation’s capital included a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and cake-cutting ceremonies at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.
For those who couldn’t make it to Washington for the festivities, Fort Benning marked the passing of another Army year with unit celebrations across post.
Lieutenants and captains in the 11th Engineer Battalion cut a ceremonial cake Tuesday in honor of the birthday. The celebration coincided with the unit’s junior leader luncheon, held every second Tuesday of the month. “It’s great timing for us this year simply because we have the 63rd Engineer Company that is coming down on deployment,” said Command Sgt. Maj. John Etter, battalion command sergeant major.
“It’s just a time to reflect back and remember the years before and the years (ahead), especially tying in with the deployment,” he said. “Putting those two together, we are celebrating what our commitment is to the Army and why we support and defend our country and do our job as Soldiers. So we’re gearing up for a deployment and celebrating the Army’s birthday at the same time.”
2nd Lt. Paul Delongchamp, the newest junior officer in the 11th Engineer Battalion, was one of the Soldiers selected to talk about what the Army means to him during the cake-cutting ceremony.
Citing the 236 years of history, Delongchamp said tradition was important to him, especially continuing the legacy of military service started in his family by his grandfather.
On Sand Hill, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, involved its basic training Soldiers in the annual tradition with a cake cutting. More than 1,000 Soldiers gathered in front of the battalion flag at 6:45 a.m. for the ceremony.
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Kyle Feger, Command Sgt. Maj. Lemuel Powell, and the oldest and youngest trainees, Sgt. David Pfiester and Pfc. Jarred Westbrook, cut the cake with an M9 bayonet.
According to the Center of Military History, records indicate that Congress planned to raise 10 companies of riflemen and appoint a committee to draft regulations for the new Army, but history shows it did more than that. The fledgling Army also took responsibility for existing New England troops, about 15,000 in all.
The Army birthday coincides with Flag Day.
For more on the history of the U.S. Army birthday, visit www.history.army.mil/html/faq/birth.html. To learn more about this year’s event, go to www.army.mil/birthday/236.