WASHINGTON (NNS) -- This year's celebration of our 237th birthday is highlighted by anniversaries that have defined us as the greatest maritime warfighting force in history.
Across the country, cities held Navy Week celebrations for the bicentennial of the War of 1812 which guaranteed our independence and ensured our future. These events have shown the contrasts of our modest beginnings with the original six frigates at the start of the 19th century to today's 21st century modern fleet.
This year is the 70th anniversary of Guadalcanal which was one of our Navy's most important World War II victories in the Pacific. 2012 is also the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis that allowed President Kennedy to stand firm during the Cold War confrontation with the might of 140 ships of the fleet in the Caribbean. Since then, the Navy has continued to provide the flexibility our Commander in Chief needs to meet high-end conventional or asymmetrical threats, or provide humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters. We have remained a nation committed to the seas and to a strong Navy.
While we have innovated and built the world's greatest fleet through the years, what makes our Navy part of the best expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known is our Sailors. You are standing the watch and sustaining peace in the global commons.
The new defense strategy announced by the President in January is a maritime-centric strategy, so America needs your continued best. This is a time and a future when so much depends on our naval services and we will continue to take care of our Sailors and their families to make sure they have all they need to take care of our nation. You are part of a Navy warfighting team that is reliable, flexible and ready to respond worldwide - on, above and below the sea. I look forward to all we will accomplish in the years ahead.
Thank you, happy birthday and semper fortis.