Suited for Celebration - Depot Marines recall and recommit as Corps marks 228 years
By Master Sgt. Janice M. Hagar
| | November 14, 2003
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
It's that time of year when Marines and former Marines around the world take time to celebrate the birth of the Corps.
It's a time for Marines to don their best uniforms and break out the anodized medals. It's a time for cake-cutting ceremonies, for sharing a meal and a slice of birthday cake. It's a time for raising a glass and toasting the Corps. It's a time to party the night away in celebration.
But it's not just about celebrations. It's also a time to pause and reflect on the past. It's a time to remember those who bore the title "Marine" over the past 228 years.
Nov. 10 is the Corps' birthday, and Marines aboard the Depot commemorated this year's anniversary in a variety of ways. The traditional Depot uniform pageant and cake-cutting ceremony was held on the parade deck Nov. 5. History came alive for the recruits in attendance as Marines in uniforms ranging from 1775 to present stepped out on the parade deck as a Marine read the history behind each uniform. After the pageant, a white cake adorned in scarlet and gold was cut by Brig. Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr., commanding general, MCRD San Diego and Western Recruiting Region. The first piece of cake was given to the oldest Marine present, Col. Paul Allen, assistant chief of staff for operations and training. The piece of cake was then passed from the oldest to the youngest Marine, symbolizing the passing of history and traditions to the next generation. The youngest Marine was Pvt. Ryan Horner, Basic Marine Platoon.
Following the ceremony, Marines, sailors and civilians gathered at the mess hall to enjoy the traditional birthday meal of steak and lobster, with birthday cake for dessert.
The birthday celebrations continued into the weekend. The Depot's enlisted birthday ball was held Nov. 7 and the officers ball was held Nov 8, both at the Marriott Hotel in downtown San Diego.
Most of the Depot celebrations were held a little early, but Weapons Field Training Battalion held a cake-cutting ceremony Monday at the Edson Range parade deck, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
"This is what the Marine Corps is all about," said Col. Robert P. Wagner, commanding officer, WFTBn. "It's about shooting and field skills. It's fitting that we're with recruits celebrating their first cake-cutting ceremony."
The Depot commanding general was the guest of honor for the ceremony and he echoed Wagner's comments.
"I can't think of a better place to be today," said Paxton. He told the recruits of Company C and the Marines of WFTBn. there was more to celebrating the Marine Corps birthday than ceremonies and dancing.
"There are two reasons to celebrate: to recall and to recommit," said Paxton. "We recall the valor and courage of those who served before us, and we follow in the footsteps of those great Marines. We recommit ourselves to follow in those footsteps."
Happy birthday, Marines!