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U.S. Navy Cmdr. John “Eric” Ager, professor of national security studies at the Marshall Center’s College of International and Security Studies, who is one of two active-duty Sailors assigned to the Marshall Center, and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rachael Gosnell, European engagement officer for the Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe in Naples, Italy, who was at here as a guest lecture for the Marshall Center’s Program on Applied Security Studies, cut the cake at the Marshall Center’s 243rd U.S. Navy Birthday Celebration Oct. 11. For more photos of the Marshall Center’s U.S. Navy 243rd Birthday Celebration, visit the Marshall Center Photo Gallery. (DOD photo by Karl-Heinz Wedhorn/RELEASED)

By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Oct. 11, 2018) – Nine active-duty and former Sailors stationed at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, as well as a visiting guest lecturer celebrated the 243rd birthday of the U.S. Navy Oct. 11.

This celebration was a few days shy of the actual birthday of the U.S. Navy, which will be Saturday, Oct. 13.

The event was an opportunity for these Sailors to honor their service and showcase the past and present achievements, and heritage of the U.S. Navy to their German and U.S. civilian colleagues and those from the other military branches of the U.S. Department of Defense. 

“Today, we celebrate the U.S. Navy’s glorious past, and recognize the men and women who have ‘stood the watch’ during times of war and peace,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Welsh, professor of International Law at Marshall Center’s College of International and Security Studies, and one of two of the active-duty sailors assigned to the Marshall Center.

One of the highlights of the event was the U.S. Navy traditional cutting of the cake and a video highlighting the service of the Marshall Center Sailors.

The theme for the Navy’s 243rd Birthday is “Forged by the Sea.” The theme represents the

aspirational outcome of every Sailor’s journey in uniform.

“It conveys the notion that every Sailor is shaped and strengthened into a more capable version of themselves through Navy service. It also describes the Navy as a team that has been forged, tempered and toughened over 243 years of maritime dominance, while acknowledging the Navy’s unique and fundamental relationship with the sea,” Welsh said.

The 243rd Birthday of the U.S. Navy honors the brave men and women who conduct a wide range of combat, training, humanitarian, rescue and other missions worldwide, protecting our interests, promoting our security, and helping to shape our nation’s history and culture, said Welsh.

This celebration included the traditional cutting of the cake by U.S. Navy Cmdr. John “Eric” Ager, professor of national security studies at the Marshall Center’s College of International and Security Studies, who is the other active-duty Sailor assigned to the Marshall Center, and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rachael Gosnell, European engagement officer for the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe in Naples, Italy, who was here as a guest lecture for the Marshall Center’s Program on Applied Security Studies.

“Since our nation was founded, the Navy has deployed to defend American interests and values around the world,” said Welsh, who then provided a few historical facts about the U.S. Navy.

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on October 13, 1775, by authorizing 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 Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794. USS Constitution, one of the first six frigates, remains a commissioned warship today and is homeported in Boston, Mass.

In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of October 13 as the Navy's Birthday. Since then, each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service."