New York Army National Guard marks Army's 243rd Birthday with cake cutting ceremony

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Major General Raymond Shields, center, and and Army National Guard Soldiers cutting the Army Birthday Cake in June 2017

LATHAM, NY (06/13/2018) (readMedia)-- The New York Army National Guard marks the 243rd birthday of the United States Army on Thursday, June 14 at the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters with a traditional cake-cutting ceremony. One of the oldest Soldiers present will join the youngest Soldier in cutting the Army Birthday cake.

WHO: Master Sgt. John Batza, a 58-year old Soldier from Watervliet, will be the oldest Soldier during the cake cutting ceremony. Batza, who served in the Army from 1980 to 1985 and joined the New York Army National Guard in 1991, serves as a personnel specialist in the New York Army National Guard's military personnel office at the Watervliet Arsenal.

Sgt. Tyler Center, a 24-year old Soldier from Slingerlands, will represent the youngest Soldier during the cake-cutting ceremony. He is a supply specialist assigned to New York Army National Guard headquarters and enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2014. Major General Raymond Shields of Saratoga Springs, the commander of the New York Army National Guard will preside.

WHAT: A traditional cake-cutting ceremony commemorating June 14, 1775 which the United States Army considers its birthday. The youngest and the oldest Soldiers present join the presiding officer to cut the Army Birthday Cake. The youngest Soldier represents the future of the Army while the oldest represents continuity with the Army's history. The Capital Region Chapter of the Association of the United States Army is providing the cake. Cake cutters will use a ceremonial cavalry saber to cut the cake.

WHERE: New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters, 330 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham N.Y., 12110

WHEN: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Coverage opportunities:

Reporters can interview New York Army National Guard Officers and Soldiers and obtain imagery of the cake cutting ceremony.

For access to this secure military facility, please contact the public affairs office at 518-786-4581.

The Army Birthday:

When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army. The revolutionaries fielded a force of colonial troops cobbled together from various New England militia companies. They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders.

The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised.

In the spring of 1775, this "army" was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain's seasoned professionals.

Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army. Reportedly, at John Adams' request, Congress voted to "adopt" the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision.

Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee "to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army," and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City. Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia.

George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775.

The Army National Guard is one of three components of the Army of the United States along with the Active Army and the Army Reserve.