News: Marines celebrate Corps' birthday with annual pageant, cake cutting
Story by Cpl. Mark Stroud
CAMP FOSTER, Japan - A youth football or baseball team practicing or Marines conducting physical training are common sights at the Camp Foster parade field. More unusual is the sight of immaculately-dressed Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets dating from the Revolutionary war to the present.
Marine Corps uniforms from different eras of history were showcased by members of the Kubasaki High School’s JROTC during a uniform pageant and cake-cutting ceremony Nov. 9 to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 237th birthday.
Marines and sailors with III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific attended the ceremony, which began with an invocation and a reading of a message from the commandant. The students were then called out in the chronological order of the uniform they were wearing as a narrative highlighting the actions of Marines during the uniform’s time period was read.
After the pageant, Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., the commanding general of III MEF and guest of honor at the ceremony, spoke about the past, present and future of the Marine Corps.
“This was a great event focused on our proud legacy,” said Glueck. “When you look at all the places the Corps has been and all we have achieved in our history, it is simply awe-inspiring. We have a bright future ahead of us, and it is you Marines, here in the Asia-Pacific region, who will make history in the years to come.”
The cutting of the birthday cake, a traditional Marine Corps ceremony symbolizing the passing of tradition from one generation of Marines to the next, followed the pageant.
Col. Katherine J. Estes, the battalion commander of Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, MCIPAC, cut the cake and presented the first piece to Glueck. Estes then passed the second piece to the oldest Marine present, Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael A. Scott, provost sergeant, Provost Marshal’s Office, MCB Camp Butler. The piece was subsequently passed by Scott to the youngest Marine present, Pfc. Macey T. Petit, a correctional specialist with PMO.
“This pageant exemplifies 237 years of history and esprit de corps,” said Estes. “Days like this serve to remind us of the Marines who came before us.”
The Marines present and JROTC members who participated in the pageant received a unique opportunity. The Marines got the chance to reflect on their past while the JROTC members gained insight into the Marine Corps’ cultural heritage.
“I really enjoyed what we did today,” said Cadet Pete Leyva, a JROTC member at Kubasaki High School. “I got to learn a lot about the history of the Marine Corps and it made me very proud to participate in the pageant.”
The ceremony was a showcase of the history of the Marine Corps, highlighting the actions of 237 years of Marines serving their country around the world with valor and setting the high standard today’s Marines continue to meet and exceed, according to Glueck.
“We must look back on our past,” said Glueck. “It motivates us for the future and represents what it means to be a Marine.”