AUSA Celebrates 70 Years of Service
The Association of the U.S. Army turns 70 on July 5, a milestone in advocacy for the Army and support for soldiers that will be marked by national and local events.
“AUSA was founded in 1950 based on the hope and pledge that working together on behalf of the Total Army was an undertaking worth the effort,” said retired Gen. Carter Ham, AUSA president and CEO.
“In seven decades, our now more than 216,000-member association has proven it is the loyal proponent and defender of America’s Army, a tremendous asset for professional development, and a way of unifying efforts within the Army, industry, communities and people in a noble cause of making certain our nation has the world’s premier land force.”
“Our 70th birthday is something to celebrate, and an opportunity for us to pledge to work even harder,” Ham added.
To mark the birthday, an “AUSA Day” initiative has been launched encouraging the association’s 122 chapters to hold their own day of celebration of service, giving back to their communities over a two-month period that started June 1 and ends July 31.
The goal is to conduct AUSA Day every year.
“As our association celebrates 70 years of service, we want to commemorate this day as a mighty team to show what brings us together—AUSA’s enduring mission and passion to provide a voice for America’s Army and support for soldiers, Army civilians and families,” said retired Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, AUSA’s vice president for membership and meetings.
The centerpiece of the national headquarters effort is a school supply drive in support of Operation Homefront’s Back-to-School Brigade. From July 1–31, AUSA’s national staff will collect backpacks and other school supplies for military children.
Back-to-School Brigade is Operation Homefront’s annual nationwide school supply collection and distribution campaign. Since its inception, the project has distributed 350,000 backpacks to military children, according to the Operation Homefront website.
AUSA’s chapters have also been encouraged to choose their own service project to celebrate the association’s birthday in their local communities. The effort also affords chapters an opportunity to earn an award ribbon at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in October.
Some chapters have already completed their AUSA Day event. Projects have included awarding scholarships to deserving military children, throwing pizza parties at local veterans’ homes, writing thank you notes to first responders, restoring flag poles and cleaning up local cemeteries.
“With our nine regions and 122 chapters around the world, we know that something good happens every single day as a result of AUSA’s support,” McQuistion said. “But, we’re still excited about bringing all the efforts at national, regional and local levels into sharp focus on one day a year—the day we celebrate AUSA’s anniversary.”
AUSA was born on July 5, 1950, for a clear purpose: America’s foundational military force needed to speak with one voice.
In a joint message, a group of World War II wartime leaders accustomed to protecting their service branch showed they were ready to lock arms for a loftier cause.
“Let us put our resources and efforts into an association that can keep in the forefront the importance and requirements of the cutting edge of our national defense—in particular, the needs of the soldiers and their families that are the Army,” declared top Army leaders from the Infantry Association and Field Artillery Association.
AUSA’s first president was Gen. Wade Haislip, an infantry officer serving as Army vice chief of staff. President Harry Truman, a former artilleryman, was the honorary president.
Seventy years later, AUSA’s purpose hasn’t changed. As an educational nonprofit, AUSA aims to be the Army’s professional association, dedicated to educational development, advancing national security and promoting greater recognition of the Army’s vital role in American life, past, present and future.