NewsAnnouncements : Walter Reed Bethesda Celebrates 243rd Navy Birthday with theme “Forged by the Sea”

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Walter Reed Bethesda Celebrates 243rd Navy Birthday with theme “Forged by the Sea”


By MC2 Kevin V. Cunningham

WRNMMC Command Communications​

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center celebrated the 243rd birthday of the U.S. Navy during a morning colors ceremony Oct. 11. 

The theme for the Navy's 243rd birthday is “Forged by the Sea.” The celebration served as an opportunity to honor the proud history of the U.S. Navy, which traces its origins to the Continental Navy established Oct. 13, 1775 when the Continental Congress authorized the procurement, fitting out, manning and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.

The ceremony started with an invocation led by Navy Chaplain (Capt.) James H. Pittman, who stressed the Navy’s strength comes from its diversity. “Walter Reed [Bethesda] is a testament to this diversity in our transformation from a naval medical facility to a joint military medical center. Celebrating this bond is where we find our strength,” said Pittman.

Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mark A. Kobelja, WRNMMC director, welcomed the guest of honor, Navy Capt. Mary S. Seymour, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Bethesda. Prior to welcoming Seymour to the podium, Kobelja shared his sentiments about the Navy’s birthday and Navy medicine with those in attendance.

“As we celebrate another year of naval service to this country, we must recognize the burden placed on Navy medicine and the Navy corpsman,” said Kobelja. “It is our community that has led the way for such a successful 243 years in service to our great country. There’s a reason 23 ships have been named after corpsmen and 22 Medals of Honor awarded as well as dozens of Navy Crosses and Silver Stars [to corpsmen].”

Seymour also spoke of the pride all Sailors should have marking another year in Naval history. “On this 243rd Birthday of our Navy, we have the honor to serve in the greatest maritime fighting force the world has ever seen, but we do so with humility, continuing to build upon the framework those fighting Sailors forged before us. History teaches us that with great power comes great responsibility.”

The ceremony winded down as Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Darius M. Doll shared the official Navy Birthday Message from Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, who stated: “Because of your hard work and dedication, the foundation for restoring readiness and increasing lethality has been set. But as we enter our 244th year of service, we must now build on that foundation. I need you to continually think of how to improve the delivery of the Navy the Nation needs with a committed sense of urgency. With your help, I have no doubt we will leverage every resource, leading practice, and efficiency we can find with the professionalism, integrity and accountability the American people expect.”​