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    Sailors celebrate Navy’s 239th Birthday in Afghanistan



    Story by Staff Sgt. John Jackson 

    Regional Command Southwest

    CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – A small formation of sailors gathered in front of the Regional Command (Southwest) headquarters building aboard Camp Leatherneck to celebrate the United States Navy’s 239th Birthday, Oct. 13.

    During the ceremony, Navy Capt. James Cole, the RC(SW) command surgeon and senior Naval officer in Helmand province, read Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert’s birthday message and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos’ birthday message to the formation.

    “As you operate forward, and stand the watch around the globe, you embody the characteristics of the patriots that went before us,” Adm. Greenert’s message read. “Our greatest traditions live within the foundation of their courage and perseverance. On this day, we pause and remember the proud heritage and service of previous shipmates. Likewise, we will always remember those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our Navy and our nation.”

    The Navy birthday is special for sailors both deployed and in garrison, but meant a little extra to the sailors currently in Helmand province.

    “Celebrating the 239th birthday of the United States Navy is significant for the sailors in RC(SW) because it should be the last birthday we celebrate here,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Rudy Contreras, the independent duty corpsman for RC(SW). “It’s always a privilege to serve with my brothers and sisters-in-arms and to serve here in Afghanistan and to celebrate our Navy birthday here truly is an honor.”

    The majority of the sailors serving with MEB-A in Helmand province are responsible for providing all the medical care and religious and spiritual counseling for the Marines and sailors aboard Camp Leatherneck.

    “The sailors who serve with the Marine Corps are a special group of people,” Cole said. “They choose to be here because they want to serve with the Marine Corps. This is the kind of service they have dreamt about since they entered boot camp or got their commission. Everybody is honored to be here.”

    Following the reading of the birthday messages, Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo, commander, RC(SW) and Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan, and Sgt. Maj. Doug Berry Jr., sergeant major, RC(SW) and MEB-A, thanked the sailors for their service and wished them all a happy birthday.

    Although it was small, it was an historic and memorable ceremony.

    “Being able to reflect on this day and being able to say we celebrated the final Navy birthday that U.S. Navy sailors were in Helmand province will be just awesome to look back upon,” Cole said.


    Date Taken: 10.13.2014
    Date Posted: 10.13.2014 11:28
    Story ID: 144968

    Web Views: 279
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