Celebrating US Marine Corps' 233rd Birthday at Manas, Kyrgyzstan
Focus on Defense:
MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan, Nov. 10, 2008 -- When Marines go to war, regardless of where they are or what they're doing, they never fail to celebrate their beloved "Corps'" birthday and remember their heritage.
Today a small group of 30 Marines deployed from the Okinawa-based 3rd Marine Division displayed the Marine motto of Semper Fidelis, Latin for (always faithful) when they took time to celebrate the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, Nov. 10, at Manas Air Base.
Manas AB serves as the air mobility and refueling hub for all coalition servicemembers going in and out of Afghanistan. In the last month alone, Manas has supported thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, as well as other coalition personnel, as they transited through the base en route to support operations in Afghanistan, including Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force.
The Marines at the birthday celebration were heading to Afghanistan, where they will start a nine-month deployment. Even though they only had hours left before their scheduled departure, they still took the time to pay tribute to their service's history.
"Regardless of where we are we are going, we always take the time to celebrate the Marine Corps' birthday with our fellow Marines around the world," said Master Sgt. Pete Delarosa, the unit's senior enlisted and administrative chief responsible to the commander for taking care of the Marine's welfare.
"It is good for the young guys in the group to do this," said Sergeant Delarosa, a 23-year Marine veteran. "For many of them, this is the first Marine Corps birthday they have ever experienced."
Although the Marines did not anticipate celebrating the Marine Corps' birthday at what is primarily an Air Force installation, members of both services came together to make the Ala Too Dining Facility a distinguished site for the event.
In line with Marine Corps tradition, the youngest and oldest Marines in the group, Lance Cpl. German Gamez Campos and Maj. Jay Rice cut the birthday cake and served the other Marines present for the celebration.
"I would have never thought we might celebrate the Marine Corps' birthday at an Air Force base, but today is all about tradition," said Corporal Campos, a 19-year-old native of Edenburg, Texas, who enlisted in the Marine Corps a little over a year ago.
"Just because we are a small group passing through an Air Force base, we are not going to forget where we came from," said Sergeant Delarosa.
"Today's my first Marine Corps birthday celebration and I was expecting something smaller because of where we were," said Corporal Campos. "It reminds of what I am doing and why I am here -- to be a Marine."
(Report by Tech. Sgt. Michael Voss, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.)
Related: CIA - The World Factbook -- Kyrgyzstan
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