By MC2 Kevin V. Cunningham
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
“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.”