Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC --
Marine Forces Special Operations Command celebrated the 245th Marine Corps Birthday a little differently than in years past by running a collective 245 miles and coming together for a traditional cake-cutting ceremony, Nov. 6, 2020 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC.
COVID-19 restrictions have changed the way Marines across the globe are celebrating the Corps’ 245th birthday. The annual galas, held to commemorate the founding of Marine Corps, have been scaled back to ensure the health of the force while ensuring the most meaningful aspects of the festivities remain untouched. The decision to forego Marine Corps Ball ceremonies was announced in a memo from the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black. In the memo, he recalled one of his most memorable birthdays while deployed and was reminded of what he feels is the most important thing for Marines to embrace: “being with Marines, accomplishing the mission, and staying true to our customs and courtesies, even in the midst of our shared adversity.”
Lt. Gen. George W. Smith, Deputy Commandant, Plans, Policies and Operations, was the guest of honor at the event held outside of the MARSOC headquarters. In keeping with Black’s theme, Smith reflected on Gen. Paul X. Kelly’s, 28th Commandant of the Marine Corps, perspective about what it means to be a Marine. “It is like trying to describe the feeling for your country, your wife and your children; it’s there, but words are simply insufficient.”
MARSOC commander, Maj. Gen. James F. Glynn, took a few moments to memorialize the three Marine Raiders killed in the past year, Maj. Moses A. Navas, Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo and Sgt. Wolfgang K. Weninger.
“Today we remember their legacy, and it is with them and their families, both in presence and in spirit that we celebrate our birthday with them,” said Glynn.
Similarly, Smith acknowledged the ultimate sacrifice paid by the Marines, saying, “Especially today, we double our efforts to be worthy, every day, of the title we share with them - Marine.”
As Marines around the globe reflect on their history and continue to face challenges associated with COVID, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger, reminded them that adversity is nothing new for Marines.
“While this year’s many challenges are significant and unique, they are not unprecedented, and it is important to remember that our Nation and Corps have endured difficult times in our past. It is what we have done for 245 years and what is expected of us as the Nation’s force-in readiness,” said Berger in his birthday message. “Where others see challenges, Marines see opportunities. We don’t take a knee. We will always be ready to answer the nation’s call, no matter the crisis.”