arms, is the best natural defense of a free country." - James Madison
If only James Madison could see our Army now. He would beam with pride. It's almost impossible today to fathom the humble beginnings of our Army. We are rapidly closing in on the 236th birthday of the U.S. Army. The Army authorized by the Continental Congress in 1775 was a ragtag collection of local militia, random volunteers, and veterans of the French and Indian War organized to face down the most powerful and professional military in the world. We've come a long way since then. As we spent our Memorial Day weekend in Iraq we found time to reflect on those who served before us. We serve so that our Nation will always have a Memorial Day. Our Army has become the most powerful in the world and may it always be. Freedom is worth protecting at any cost.
Regardless of the occasion, we still had work to do. It was as busy a weekend as any other. On top of that we were administering PT tests. I had to tend to some disciplinary actions as well - not the highlight of being a commander. The heat and dust continued to be omnipresent. The machinery of our Battalion continued to hum at a steady pace. Sunday afternoon my Soldiers from Brownsville, TX held another cookout. My Executive Officer and I stopped by to share a few laughs along with steaks and chicken. There are Combat Engineers living next door and that reminded me of the importance of everyone's mission here. Though they may be very different in text, they all come together in the big picture. The Engineers have the responsibility to go out every night and clear the routes my Soldiers drive along in their convoys. Without the Combat Engineers, my convoys could not run safely up and down the highways of Iraq. At the same time, without my Soldiers the Engineers wouldn't be supplied. We completely depend upon one another. At the same time we're good neighbors on the FOB. As the Engineers prepared their vehicles, weapons and equipment for another night outside the wire they joined my Soldiers for food and drink. I met their Company Commander, who reminds me of Dennis Hopper. Friendships and mutual respect are common here. They have to be. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Inevitably we all turned to thoughts of home. Memorial Day Weekend is the official first weekend of summer. Friends and family back home are enjoying the long weekend. We'd rather be there. We are there in thought and in our hearts. Happy Memorial Day to everyone back home. Raise a drink to my Soldiers and buy them one when they return home. May God richly bless The United States of America - now and forever.