News: Marines ship off to Boston for Independence Day
Story by Lance Cpl. Manuel Estrada
BOSTON – Marine Corps Air Station New River’s Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162, MCAS Cherry Point’s Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Company G, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, set sail to Boston aboard the USS Wasp to celebrate Independence Day, June 28-July 5.
The War of 1812 marked the first time the United States protected its sovereignty as an independent country from the British government, said Lt. Col. Robert A. Freeland, VMM-162 and Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force commanding officer.
While in Boston, the Marines performed community relations events throughout the city. They fed homeless veterans in several philanthropist locations, interacted with children in the community at Boston’s Yawkey Boys and Girls Club and set up static displays to show Bostonians what the Marine Corps has to offer.
“It was a great experience,” said Lance Cpl. Gorge Jackson, HMLA-467 maintenance administrator. “We went out there and played basketball, foosball, and participated with (the kids) in a lot of activities. They wore our blouses and our covers during the games. You could really tell they liked us being there with them.”
The Marines also had a full arsenal to display aboard the USS Wasp. The ground combat element had M16 A4 rifles, M2 .50 caliber machine guns and amphibious assault vehicles to showcase what the GCE uses to complete their mission.
The aviation combat element also showed some of the aircraft used in combat situations to complete their mission. They had an MV-22B Osprey, a UH-1W Huey and an AH-1W Super Cobra.
Freeland said that less than one percent of Americans actually serve in the military and static displays of aircraft and military vehicles allowed Bostonians the opportunity to see how the U.S. military operates.
The Marines and sailors started the July 4th celebration at city hall and marched through downtown Boston.
The service members were led by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. They are the third-oldest chartered military organization in the world, and the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, said Capt. Paul M. Colella, the commanding captain of the company.
They marched to Christ Church Burial Ground, where Benjamin Franklin and many other American revolutionaries are buried. Their acts of valor were read to the parade to recognize the efforts they took to make the United States what it is today.
The last stop of the march was in front of Boston’s Old State House were the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston. The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts has read the Declaration of Independence to the city for 236 years on July 4th.
The festivities ended with the Boston Pop Concert with performances from Jennifer Hudson, Dropkick Murphys and a fireworks show.
Marines and sailors thanked Bostonians for welcoming them with open arms in their city.