Once again, I find myself putting pen to paper to express my unending admiration for our Armed Forces.
No matter what challenges they face, our servicemen and women are ready to give their all; and it seems to me that we are asking more and more of them.
Over the last 12 months, operations have been completed in Libya, at the same time as those in Afghanistan, and Diamond Jubilee celebrations and ceremonial events continue unabated.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games are now upon us, and up to 17,000 servicemen and women have been drafted in, in support of them.
The raw courage of our Armed Forces is on display day after day in Afghanistan and the number of wounded bears witness to so many individual acts of heroism.
Despite re-structuring and redundancies; despite danger, dust, heat and the most demanding of conditions, our troops soldier on with heads held high.
Their extraordinary resilience and humour are unique features of our Armed Forces.
One of the Regiments of which I am Colonel, The Welsh Guards, is training, mentoring and working in partnership with Afghan security forces in Helmand this Summer.
This role is extremely difficult and demanding and our youngest soldiers are asked to be diplomats and teachers, as well as soldiers.
Patience and cultural understanding are as vital as the usual soldiering skills.
Despite the most dreadful setbacks, possibly the worst being when infiltrators pretend to be Afghan policemen or soldiers and attack our troops, murdering them in cold blood, our troops somehow carry on with enormous fortitude to see the job through, often as a tribute to the memory of their fallen colleagues.
And, talking of tributes, time and again the outstanding contribution of our Special Forces goes unmentioned.
Unseen, they are on operations around the world seemingly endlessly. Inevitably, it is very difficult to shine a light on their superb efforts and extraordinary successes.
However, just because we don’t hear about them, we should never underestimate their astonishing bravery and dedicated professionalism.
Our Armed Forces set a constant example to us all. Having served in the Armed Forces myself, and with my two sons currently serving, I recognize the enormous benefit of military service for young people.
Youth and cadet organisations play a vital role in shaping young peoples’ lives and developing their life skills.
There are almost 140,000 cadets and 26,000 adult volunteers, the latter being the real lifeblood of cadet and youth organisations.
Military cadet units — or, indeed, those of the Emergency Services — give our young people structure and challenge.
Whether they go on to join the Armed Forces or not, at the very least, military cadets have an idea for the rest of their lives of the professionalism, discipline and hard work required of our soldiers, sailors and airmen.
The Sun’s Military Awards seem to be going from strength to strength, highlighting extraordinary acts of grit, determination and resilience, as well as utter selflessness on behalf of others.
Nominations for the “Millies” are doubtless far more numerous than we imagine, and so the judges will, I am sure, have an extremely difficult job to select a single winner in each category.
The “Millies” offer us a rare chance to thank our Armed Forces for all that they do, at home and abroad.
In the year of both the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic celebrations, the stoicism, loyalty and unending, uncomplaining service of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and servicewomen continue to shine through and to illuminate our lives with pride and gratitude.