Marine Corps

November 15, 2012

Station celebrates 237 years of tradition

Story by Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Desert Warrior Staff
Photo by Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano
Col. Robert C. Kukuck, station commanding officer, cuts a traditional Marine Corps Birthday cake with a ceremonial sword Nov. 7 during the annual uniform pageant and cake cutting on the station parade field.

It’s a day every Marine has come to know and celebrate as if it were their own: the day the Corps came alive.

The Marine Corps’ official birthday is Nov. 10, 1775, when the 2nd Continental Congress passed a resolution that “two battalions of Marines be raised.”

Since that day 237 years ago, Marines have fought valiantly in battle and served honorably in peace, following their colors to the ends of the earth and back, many paying the ultimate price for freedom.

To pay homage to the Corps’ battle-hardened past and those who have gone before them, station Marines took part in the annual uniform pageant and cake cutting ceremony, Nov. 7, on the station’s parade field.

“The word ‘Marine’ spans time, places, people, personalities and exploits, rang out the narrator at the beginning of the ceremony.  “This morning, we gather to recall our past history, pay homage to past generations of Marines, and to honor all Marines who have served in every clime and place.”

Marines, sailors, VIP guests and members of the local community gathered on the station parade field to witness the annual uniform pageant and cake cutting ceremony Nov. 7 in honor of the 237th Marine Corps Birthday. Traditionally the pageant highlights today’s Marines dressed in the uniforms of our Corps’ past ranging from the Revolution to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

The uniform pageant consists of current Marines dressed in different uniforms that have been worn throughout Marine Corps history, commemorating the long lineage of men and women who have filled the Corps’ ranks for more than two centuries.

“This is a Marine Corps tradition. It’s important to me because the Marines who came before paved the way for us,” said Cpl. Henry Lima, an installation personnel administration center clerk.

The cake-cutting ceremony is a traditional part of Marine Corps birthday celebrations across the globe. During the ceremony, the first piece of birthday cake is presented to the oldest Marine present and the second piece to the youngest Marine, which signifies the passing of traditions from one generation to the next.

As the Corps continues its legacy of winning battles and making Marines, more Marines will gaze upon such a pageant, expressing their gratitude to those who have gone before them, confident that one day, future Marines will look back at their service as they carry the torch for generations to come.

“When I’m old and retired, I want to see a ceremony just like this; done correctly with proper drill and discipline, just like the veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam that are here expect of us today,” said Lima.

After the ceremony, Marines and guests ate a hearty meal in the station’s mess hall and put away the vintage uniforms and weapons; returning to their focus on continuing the legacy they’d just honored.

Next year, there will be another celebration and pageant, and so on and so forth. As long a there is a Corps, Marines will remember and pay tribute to those who came before them.

A Marine decorated in traditional Revolutionay War period garb salutes during the playing of the national anthem at the annual uniform pageant and cake cutting ceremony Nov. 7 on the station parade field. The pageant and ceremony are time-honored traditions the station takes great pride in putting on. Members of the community and many special guests come aboard the air station every year to enjoy the show.

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