News: MCAS Yuma Marines celebrate 238 years of Corps' history
Story by Lance Cpl. Reba James
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. - Marines and sailors from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., participated in the Marine Corps birthday uniform pageant and cake cutting ceremony, Nov. 7, to commemorate 238 years of Marine Corps service and tradition, honoring all Marines who have served in every clime and place.
Marines, sailors, veterans and family members were in attendance as Lt. Cmdr. James Bradshaw, the station chaplain, began the ceremony with an invocation paying homage to past generations of Marines. The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing band, from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., traveled to MCAS Yuma for the chance to perform in the annual ceremony.
“The uniform pageant gives us the background and history of the materials that Marines wore and carried, including the weapons,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Arnett, the S-6 chief at Marine Air Control Squadron one (MACS-1). “It’s a way for us to look back and see where we are coming from.”
The pageant consisted of Marines dressed in historical uniforms that have been worn throughout the Marine Corps existence. The pageant celebrates the long lineage of men and women who have filled the Corps ranks for more than two centuries.
“The pageant is fun and it is one way to show history, by handing a Marine a rifle from that era,” said Arnett.
“It shows that we take pride every single year and we show it through the pageant, each battle and their uniforms [from that period],” said Pfc. Joshua Deane, a motor transport operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron-371 (MWSS-371). “We take pride and we still look back.”
After the uniform pageant, Col. Robert C. Kuckuk, commanding officer of MCAS Yuma, addressed the audience of Marines, sailors and veterans in attendance about a short history of the Marine Corps birthday uniform pageant and cake cutting ceremony.
“Our job is to guide and direct new Marines to understand what a Marine represents to our nation,” said Arnett, who was the oldest Marine present for the ceremony. “We have to teach them that the customs and courtesies are important.”
In honor of the cake cutting ceremony, a Navy corpsmen with Search and Rescue (SAR), MCAS Yuma, delivered the ceremonial sword to Kuckuk by rappelling 100 feet down from a UH-1N Huey helicopter.
“We aren’t always focused on where we are at, but always looking back to where we came from,” said Deane, who was the youngest Marine present for the ceremony. “That’s a big part of us, where we started and how far we’ve come and what we are about as Marines.”
During the ceremony, the cake represents the 238 years the Corps has served this nation, and the presentation of the cake to the oldest and youngest Marine symbolizes the continuing thread of the Marine Corps, linking our past with the present.
“This is a way to bring back history and esprit de corps,” said Arnett. “Everything changes, but this shows our remembrance. Two hundred and thirty eight years of hanging in there and being tough, it identifies who we are.”