Spec. Jason Jordan
1st Brigade Combat Team Journalist
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – “The United States Army has had 231 years to become the world’s most advanced and capable military force,” said retired Maj. David “Rocky” Rockwell. “I spent more than 24 years in the Army, and now several more working beside it as a civilian. I have seen the Army at its worst, and I can honestly say that it is at its best ever today.”
Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), gathered to honor the Army’s 231st Birthday during a cake-cutting ceremony June 14 at the Blizzard Inn Dining Facility.
The 1st BCT Soldiers, who are nearing the end of a yearlong deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, expressed their pride at being able to help the country of Iraq while remembering the Army’s day of birth.
“I believe there is no better place to be celebrating the Army’s birthday, than here in Iraq – aiding this country’s efforts to become a free democracy,” said Col. Jeffrey Snow, 1st BCT commander, who spoke at the ceremony. “It is remarkable not only because it is our Army’s birthday, but today also marks the start of a new operation by Iraqi Security Forces to improve the safety of their country.”
Troops watched as Snow and 1st BCT’s youngest Soldier, Pfc. Vadim Gunyan – who will turn 19 on Sept. 8 – cut a birthday cake bearing the Army’s logo.
“I never imagined I would be the youngest Soldier in my brigade when I joined, but I am proud to be here serving my country and helping the people of Iraq,” Gunyan said.
Soldiers honored the day by remembering how far the Army has come, and the institution of values it has become.
“After Vietnam, the Army focused on core values to help rebuild its forces,” said Rockwell, who has worked as a safety officer for the brigade since retiring from the Army. “It is heartening to be around today’s Soldiers. They are truly the most caring and most capable Soldiers in the Army’s history.”
After the ceremony, Soldiers enjoyed festivities that included an elaborate meal and live music.