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Deputy Chief of Army address on the Army’s birthday

Major General Rick Burr, DSC, AM, MVO, Address at Army Birthday Commemorative Service, Australian War Memorial, Tuesday 1 March 2016.
1 March 2016

Check against delivery.

I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we are meeting today, and pay my respects to their elders, both past and present.

I also acknowledge the Chief of the Defence Force, Chief of Navy – and I wish the Royal Australian Navy a happy birthday today – Chief of Air Force and Director of the Australian War Memorial. Thank you for your attendance and support. 

I extend a warm welcome to every member of our Army family here, both in and out of uniform, Regular and Reserve, our public servants, our retired members, families, friends and supporters. 

At home or on operations, wherever we are, we proudly take the time to celebrate together the anniversary of the formation of the Australian Army on the 1st of March 1901. Today our Army turns 115 - a significant milestone worthy of commemoration! 

As our birthday, today is an opportunity to do three things. 

The first is to recognise and celebrate with family and friends. That is what we are doing here this morning. We are gathered as mates and colleagues to celebrate what is best about our Army: our people. Our people are – you are – our capability.

We are a diverse organisation of incredibly talented and dedicated individuals, professional and determined to always do that bit extra; committed to selfless service to our nation, and to each other.

The second opportunity a birthday brings is to reflect on our achievements and acknowledge the efforts that have brought us this far. 

Since the beginning – since 1901 – the Australian Army has resolutely served our nation at home and abroad, promoting and protecting Australia’s interests, deterring and defeating threats, and helping Australians and others in times of need. We continue to do this today in Iraq, Afghanistan, Fiji and many other places.

This is the Australian way – it is the Army way.

As well as being a time for reflection, a birthday is also a chance to look ahead in keen anticipation of what is yet to come. 

As we consider the future of our Army, we have much to look forward to. 

From developing our people to acquiring world-leading capabilities, we are on a path of continuous innovation. Our future presents exciting opportunities for obtaining the knowledge, skills and technology needed to meet the unforgiving demands of joint land combat. Now, more than ever, we need to clearly understand Army’s role within its joint context – enabling, and being enabled by, the unique effects resident in our Navy, our Air Force, and the entire joint team.

As Army members, we have a shared responsibility to continue to build the Army story – one which has been 115 years in the making, and which is made up of the many individual contributions of our people. This is a legacy to be cherished, and carried forward, by the nearly 44,000 of us who make up our Army today.

I am encouraged by, and absolutely proud of, the talent and dedication I see displayed by our people on a daily basis. We’re in fantastic shape for 115, and our best is yet to come!

Happy birthday Army. Good soldiering.

Last updated
26 February 2018
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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