U.S. Marine Corps Celebrates 242nd Birthday
By Staff Sgt. Aubrey Griffin, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing
/ Published November 10, 2017
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
Marines with the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Rein) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, spend much of the year looking forward to the most highly anticipated event on their collective calendars. On Nov 10, the U.S. Marine Corps, which is one year older than the United States of America, celebrates its official birthday.
This event memorializes the birth of the Corps, which originally formed in 1775 at Tun Tavern, Pennsylvania to fight naval battles and protect the colonies’ supplies from pirate raids.
“All you needed at that time to enlist or join the Marines was a gun,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matthew McNew, an ordnance officer with VMM-161. “Some say a gun and a beer.”
But the Marine Corps birthday doesn’t simply mark the passing of another year. Rather, the celebration serves to carry on the deep-rooted traditions of the Marines from one generation of service members to the next.
“The tradition means more to me than anything, because we’ve been celebrating the Marine Corps birthday for so long,” said Sgt. Johnny Martinez, a quality assurance safety observer munitions VMM-161. “These traditions make the Marines more than just another military branch. It’s a brotherhood.”
Along with the traditions and camaraderie, 1st. Lt. Sally Newsham, an aircraft maintenance officer with VMM-161, said the shared excitement of Marine Corps birthday adds to its appeal. “At work that day, everyone is wishing everyone a happy birthday,” Newsham said. “Usually you get wished a happy birthday once a year, but in the Marines, it’s like you have two birthdays.”
During last year’s birthday bash, McNew, currently serving on his seventh deployment in 15 years, attended the Marine Corps ball, like most Marines do. At the annual ball, guests dress in their service blues and host a cake cutting ceremony that honors the most senior and junior Marine in attendance, as well as enjoy dinner, dancing and socializing with their fellow Marines and families.
However, while on an overseas deployment, observing this special occasion looks different than when stateside, said McNew. “We get to make stories this year in preparation for what we will talk about next year.”
Whether deployed abroad or stationed in the States, the United States Marine Corps can always be counted on to be “Semper Fidelis” to celebrating their history and continuing their traditions wherever the mission takes them.