No Army birthday would be complete without cake, and, this year, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey wants you to join him in earning a guilt-free slice of sugary goodness.
Dailey on Tuesday kicked off the #EarnYourCake campaign, where he is encouraging troops to join him in celebrating the Army's 241st birthday by completing a physical fitness activity and posting it on social media.
The idea is to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle in the Army.
Dailey hopes the campaign will encourage PT among soldiers, families, civilians and supporters as the Army prepares to celebrate its birthday on June 14.
He even challenged Army Under Secretary Patrick Murphy to join the fun.
"Under Secretary Murphy, I hear you've been doing PT with the soldiers. I tell you what, just this morning, I burned 1,900 calories. Under Secretary, how many calories did you burn this morning?" Dailey said in a video posted on the Army's Facebook page. "We do have a saying in the Army. 'We do more by 9 o'clock than most people do all day.' You've got to get up before 9 o'clock to do that."
Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey, visits Soldiers deployed to Kosovo with the Multinational Battle Group-East, May 18-19. During day one of his visit, the SMA conducted a battle group run, visited Kosovo Security Force leadership and spoke to soldiers about the future of the Army.
Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Thomas Duval/Army
Murphy responded with a little trash talk of his own.
"We need the SMA to still drink milk, take his vitamins, keep working hard," Murphy said in an Army News story. "And then someday he might be able to be a champion like myself. But, you know, I definitely, no doubt, have bigger arms than he does. But, you know, I think he might run a little faster than me, so it's going to be a good competition going into the Army birthday."
According to the Army, the average piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting contains about 240 calories. You'd have to run for about 25 minutes at a 10-minute-mile pace to work it off.
Since becoming the Army's top enlisted soldier in January 2015, Dailey has emphasized the importance of physical fitness.
"I just want soldiers out there doing good PT, working hard every day," he previously told Army Times. "It's critically important for them to be physically fit, not just as soldiers but for the rest of their lives. Extend your life. Do some physical fitness."
Dailey even previously called to task leaders for allowing fitness standards to slide among their troops.
"One of the most important things that we do every day is typically one of the first things that we do each morning, that being physical fitness training," Dailey wrote in a March 30, 2015, letter to the force. "Yet as I travel to various locations across the Army, I find fewer and fewer soldiers actually conducting physical training."
Dailey said he knows it can be easier said than done, but physically fit soldiers are healthier over time, and they're ready for any mission they might be called upon to do.
"There are a million things out there that will compete with that hour [of PT]," he said. "It's the sacred hour, and you've got to preserve it."
Soldiers, families and civilians are encouraged to upload photos, videos and comments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don't forget to include #EarnYourCake.
"In the Army, we don't just get to eat cake. You've got to earn it," Dailey said in a video posted on the Army's Facebook page. "And you do that through good, realistic, tough, demanding physical fitness training."
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.