Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III share in the cutting of the Army's 237th birthday cake on Capitol Hill, June 13.

US Army Celebrates 237 Years of Dedicated Service


With backs against the wall in the spring of 1775, a rebellious group of revolutionaries came together from various New England militia companies to help fight against the British troops during the American Revolution according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

Knowing the untrained group was no match for the British professionals, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress requesting authority over the New England army – and reportedly at the request of John Adams, Congress voted to “adopt” the troops on June 14 according to the Center.

Today, the United States celebrates the 237th birthday of the United States Army, born June 14, 1775, and celebrations are taking place throughout the week in Washington D.C. On June 13, the Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III participated in a cake cutting ceremony with Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-HI and chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-OK, according to the U.S. Army website.

"It has been the people of the Army that has been the strength of our nation and so I'm delighted to be here to extend my aloha to them all," Akaka, a Native Hawaiian, said on the Army website. "I am deeply moved with your service to our country and for joining us today in this celebration of the Army birthday. Your service and sacrifice is an inspiration to all of us, so thank you."

For American Indian veterans it’s also a time of celebration, for those warriors who have served in the past and are serving now as part of the U.S. military’s second oldest branch and as part of the highest per-capita commitment of any ethnic population to defend the United States.

Currently there are around 4,404 American Indians serving in the U.S. Army, according to a Pentagon report from March 2012 as recently reported by Indian Country Today Media Network.

These warriors are continuing the traditions of their ancestors. Ancestors like Co-Rux-Te-Chod-Ish (Mad Bear), who was a sergeant in the Pawnee Scouts, U.S. Army and was the first American Indian enlisted in the U.S. Army to receive the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor of valor in action against an enemy force, on August 24, 1869 – seven years after the honor was introduced to the U.S. Army.

As Army veterans around the country, Native and non-Native, celebrate a rich tradition of service in protecting the United States around the world, it’s only fitting to wish them a Happy Birthday.

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jaytaber's picture
Submitted by jaytaber on
There is, of course, another side to this story, and that is the tradition of this institution in subverting self-determination by indigenous peoples at home and abroad. Indeed, it has been argued convincingly that a primary reason for rebellion by American aristocrats like George Washington, was to enable the conquering of Indian nations and seizing of their territories for real estate speculation--both of which he was personally involved in. If one examines the role of the U.S. Army today, whether in Central Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East, it is undeniably that of enforcer for corporate greed. Acknowledging the atrocities and genocides committed by the US military, its proteges and mercenaries -- yesterday, today, and likely tomorrow -- means tempering our unconsidered, habitual opinions about noble warriors. In reality, the bulk of U.S. Army interventions, incursions, and invasions have been to crush democratic aspirations by indigenous peoples and civil societies, and those who participate in these crimes against humanity must live with that on their conscience. As we have seen, many can't, and this is largely responsible for the large numbers of suicides among former soldiers.