MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Marines, civilian-Marines and sailors from Marine Corps Logistics Command and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany celebrated the Marine Corps’ 235th birthday at Darton College, Saturday evening.
Lt. Gen. Frank A. Panter Jr., deputy commandant, Installations and Logistics, Washington D.C., provided remarks as the guest speaker for the ceremony.
The remarks emphasized the historic moments that the Corps is now facing, including the challenges that Marines may face both at home and abroad.
“Tonight is a special night to commemorate and to celebrate,” Panter said. “Of course all of us here are family, Marines and civilian-Marines.”
The audience was also able to watch the commandant’s message in which Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, drew parallels between Marines who fought in the Chosin Reservoir Campaign during the Korean Conflict and those Marines who are currently fighting in Afghanistan.
“As you saw on the video,” Panter said, “We are the same Marines today. We have the same blood pumping through our veins, and soon the Marines of today will be like the Marines on this video for the next generation.”
The night was especially important for the Marines and civilian-Marines of Logistics Command. During the ceremony, the command received a Meritorious Unit Citation, presented by Panter to Maj. Gen. James A. Kessler, commanding general, Logistics Command.
The birthday ball was also the first ball during the tenure of the new commandant and also comes at a time of change for the Marine Corps.
This change includes an increase in operations in Afghanistan as well as a change in the structure of the Corps that may include anything from reorganization to reducing troop strength.
Despite this, Panter stated that Marines and their families should “keep faith” with the Corps, and said all Marine Corps personnel should take care of each other as a family, both loved ones and comrades in arms. This was a major theme of the evening.
As combat operations become more aggressive in Afghanistan, Panter re-emphasized the commandant’s message of “family first.”
“We are all a small family,” Panter said. “This means Marines and civilian-Marines as well. One of the things the commandant wants to do is to increase the transition assistance, including those Marines who only serve four years and get out.”
“We should keep in mind that while we are here eating fine meals, Marines are patroll-ing in Afghanistan,” Panter said.
The ceremony was complete with a full sword detail as well as the traditional cake cutting that signifies the passing of experience from the oldest Marine to the youngest Marine.
“I thought what he said came from the heart,” said Cpl. Nicki Nall, musician, Albany Marine Band. “I think he was very genuine in what he said about family first.”
The birthday ball itself also resembled that of a vigil, with the only light in the room emanating from candles located at each table as well as gas lights surrounding the ceremony.
A setting that helped emphasize the fact that while Marines stateside celebrate the Marine Corps’ birthday, there is always a Marine standing the watch and serving overseas.