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    From the Snow of Far off Northern Lands

    From the Snow of Far off Northern Lands

    Photo By Sgt. Patrick King | A U.S. Marine with Marine Rotational Force Europe 21.1 (MRF-E), Marine Forces Europe...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe and Africa     

    SETERMOEN, Norway — For most, celebrating a birthday while deployed to the Arctic Circle would not be an ideal experience.

    Away from family and friends, birthdays often go unrecognized. But for the Marines of the “Teufelhunden Battalion,” celebrating the Marine Corps’ birthday in an austere environment made the experience a little more meaningful.

    “It’s important for us to come together to celebrate our Corps’ birthday while in Norway,” said Sgt. Maj. Lewis Layton, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (V36) sergeant major and Clearwater, Florida, native. “It’s tradition for us to celebrate those who came before us and who laid the foundation of our military legacy.”

    For the 245th Marine Corps birthday, Marines of V36 celebrated while training as Marine Rotational Force-Europe 21.1 here, Nov. 10, 2020. There were no dress blue uniforms, fancy dinners or dance floors, but that isn’t what the Corps’ birthday is about. It’s a time to reflect on the traditions of the Corps, swell with esprit de corps and honor the Marines who served and sacrificed in the past.

    Lt. Col. Ryan Gordinier, V36 battalion commander and Topeka, Kansas, native, spoke about how birthdays traditionally celebrate the individual, and contrasted that day of individuality with the Marine Corps’ birthday which celebrates a day of a shared sense of unity and tradition.

    “The Marine Corps Birthday is not about us, it’s about the collective us,” Gordinier said. “By demonstrating that celebration of our rich history and tradition together, we reinforce why Marines do what we do.”

    The austere conditions and other realities of an operational environment brought home the real meaning of the occasion for deployed Marines — a busy schedule of training and giving many Marines only moments for reflection.

    Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, the Marines forwent a traditional Birthday Ball; however, V36 still completed the most sentimental part of the ceremony — cutting the cake. The traditional birthday cake cutting ceremony represents the passing of knowledge and experience from the oldest Marine to the youngest Marine present.

    Though much is left to be desired in terms of taste, most Marines at forward positions make due with military ration cakes. The Marines with V36, however, were fortunate to share a more delectable cake with the guest of honor, Mayor Toralf Heimdal, mayor of Bardu, Norwayin celebration of the Marine Corps’ birthday and in recognition of a long-standing relationship with the Norwegian military. Additionally, Heimdal praised the Marines since unit rotations had taken place more than two years ago.

    “Since the Marines’ arrival here in the city of Bardu,” Heimdal said. “The local community has only benefited because of their presence, so it’s very special to be here cutting the cake and celebrating the Marine Corps birthday.”

    In retrospect, the taste has little to do with the true purpose of the birthday celebration: honoring those Marines who fought and died in the service of their country and Corps.

    For the Marines of V36, the birthday was a short reprieve from daily operations. Now it’s time to get back to training and building long-lasting relations with NATO allies



    Date Taken: 11.10.2020
    Date Posted: 11.17.2020 08:28
    Story ID: 383037
    Location: SETERMOEN, NO

    Web Views: 215
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