Happy Birthday Army, from GIs in Iraq
Stars and Stripes June 16, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. troops in Iraq celebrate birthdays with parties, even as battles rage.
On Saturday, festivities offered a bit of a break for some soldiers of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
With cake, coffee, tunes from the 1st AD’s band and a motivational message from Gen. George S. Patton Jr. (well, a snippet from the movie “Patton” with George C. Scott), the troops marked the Army’s 228th birthday — this time in the lap of luxury.
Just two days ago, the air conditioning was up and running in the auditorium at the Martyr’s Monument, which is marked by two huge turquoise tear-shaped domes built by former president Saddam Hussein to honor the fallen Iraqi victims of the 8-year Iran-Iraq war.
Brigade commander Col. Michael Tucker thanked the soldiers for their work in aiding to liberate and rebuild Iraq from an oppressive regime, telling the more than 350 soldiers who gathered, “We respect you all and are honored to be in your presence.
“Our Army was born into conflict and predates the nation we defend,” he added.
Spc. Jeremy Hornack, 21, and Sgt. Calvin Williams III, 34, picked the Army’s birthday to re-enlist for another 3 years.
Williams, a former Marine, joined the Corps “to make up a mistake his father made,” Tucker explained, joking, “He joined the Army to make up for a mistake he made.”
Williams’ father spent 22 years in the Navy, and the younger Williams capitalized on the rivalry between the services. Then he was out of military service for 9 years, before realizing Army life was for him.
“This time, I joined the Army for myself,” he said.