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    New York Naval Militia Celebrates 245th Marine Corps Birthday

    New York Naval Militia Celebrates 245th Marine Corps Birthday

    Photo By Ryan Campbell | Members of the New York Naval Militia and leadership from the New York National Guard,...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Ryan Campbell  

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, N.Y. (Nov. 16, 2021) – Sailors and Marines of the New York Naval Militia joined New York National Guard leadership in celebrating the 246th birthday of the Marine Corps on Nov. 10, 2021, at the New York National Guard headquarters.

    Formed on Nov. 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of Marines which was done by Samuel Nicholas, captain of the Marines, out of Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Every year since 1925 the Marine Corps birthday has been celebrated with a ball and is one of the biggest social events of the year for Marines.

    The New York Naval Militia, which was formed in 1889 with just one battalion, recognizes the birthday each year. As today, with 2,700 members, 95% come from the Marine Corps Reserve as well as the Naval Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve.

    “I love it, last year at this time I was at boot camp, I was out there dying and now I’m here working on computers. I love doing my job, I love where I’m at right now,” said Lance Cpl. William Newcomb, a data systems administrator assigned to 6th Communication Battalion, Marine Corps Reserve, Brooklyn.

    Newcomb said he enlisted in July of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and was shipped out to boot camp that fall which to him, was an entirely new experience.

    As a Marine Corps Reservist, Newcomb is also a member of the New York Naval Militia, who have been working at New York National Guard headquarters to support ongoing efforts such as the COVID-19 response.

    “I wanted to be a Marine and basically my friend talked me into it,” Newcomb said. “I wanted to serve in some branch since high school and since my friend was joining the Marines, I joined with him and we did it together, boot camp and everything.”

    It is tradition that the Marine Corps birthday cake is cut by the oldest Marine present who then serves it to the youngest Marine present.

    It was also a tradition of service that brought David Reger, who cut the cake, into the Corps.

    “All of my family was Nsvy, I was actually the first Marine,” said Reger, who served as a sergeant in the infantry at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from 1973 to 1975.

    “Being part of it, I was very proud,” Reger continued. “I stepped into Paris Island on July 5, 1973. Something you never forget.”

    After watching the Marine Corps birthday message from Gen. David Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Troy Black, those at the celebration also heard Maj. Gen. John Lejeune’s birthday message from 1921.

    It was Lejeune who issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, which summarized the history, mission and tradition of Corps, and directed that it be read every command each year on November 10 in honor of the Marine Corps birthday. The cake cutting began as a tradition as early as 1935.

    Following the remarks, Capt. David Hawley, deputy commander of the New York Naval Militia, gave the Marines in attendance a vial of soil from Iwo Jima, where 6,821 Marines were killed in action during battle for control of the island during February and March of 1945 and where the U.S. flag was famously raised over Mt. Suribachi.

    “You never lose the title of Marine, you’re proud of it,” said Reger.

    Reger, who later joined the New York National Guard in 1985 and served until 2006, never stopped celebrating the Marine Corps birthday.

    “We don’t forget, we have a tradition about 10 of us former Marines get together for the Marine Corps birthday and we celebrate and enjoy ourselves for a couple hours so we never forget,” he said.

    “Considering last year at this time I didn’t get to really enjoy it much since I was at boot camp, now that I get to enjoy it, it feels great,” said Newcomb.


    Date Taken: 11.16.2021
    Date Posted: 11.16.2021 14:30
    Story ID: 409441
    Location: LATHAM, NEW YORK, US

    Web Views: 350
    Downloads: 0