Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy Birthday U.S. Army

(an annual post)

Today is the U.S. Army's birthday. The Army is in fact older than the country it defends: what is now the United States Army was founded by the Continental Congress's decision to raise ten companies of riflemen to join colonial militia units besieging General Thomas Gage's British Army around Boston.
Some units of the U.S. Army and the National Guard are even older, tracing their ancestry to pre-Revolutionary militia units. Among the oldest are the 181st and 182nd Infantry Regiments, both tracing their ancestry to militia units raised in Boston in 1636.
There are units which followed other flags, yet were still in the service of America. The 116th Infantry Regiment of the Virginia National Guard also predates the Revolution, tracing its ancestry to the colonial-era Virginia militia. Under another name, the 116th marched with Stonewall Jackson, carrying the banners of the Confederate States at First and Second Manassas, Winchester, Sharpsburg and Gettysburg, among other places. Years later that very same unit was among the first ashore at Omaha Beach, on 6 June 1944, suffering 800 casualties that day at places named Les Moulins and Vierville-sur-Mer.

The heroic traditions of the past are still with us, and the soldiers mounting guard today in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Ramadi are the worthy heirs of their brothers of the Ia Drang Valley, Khe Sanh and the Pusan Perimeter.

Happy Birthday U.S. Army, and greetings to all its soldiers, present and past. Wherever and whenever you carried the flag for us, thank you. We owe you more than it is possible to calculate, or to repay.

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