SAN DIEGO, CA, UNITED STATES
SAN DIEGO -- Every year Marines around the world gather to celebrate the birth of the Corps and reflect on the legacy men and women before them have left behind.
Golf Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment marked the 236 Marine Corps birthday with a milestone of their own. 538 recruits completed the Crucible, the final test of their 12-week journey, and were called “Marines” for the first time during an emblem ceremony at Weapons Field Training Battalion, Nov. 10.
“This doesn’t happen often, so these Marines can feel a greater sense of accomplishment and feel what the Marine Corps birthday is about,” said Sgt. Justen Greidanus, Company G drill instructor.
Dozens of spectators watched as 1st Sgt. Robert Ixtlahuac congratulated the new Marines for their accomplishments and urged them to uphold 236 of Marine Corps history.
“Golf Company, you’ve all proven that you deserve to be among America’s warrior elite,” said Ixtlahuac. “You’ve all earned the title ‘Marine.’”
Drill instructors then placed the eagle, globe and anchor in each recruit’s hands, symbolizing their transformation from recruits to U.S. Marines. For the first time in 12 weeks, drill instructors weren’t screaming at the men. Instead, drill instructors offered the new Marines advice to use during their time in the Corps and reminded them never to forget what they had just accomplished.
“It’s a feeling of overwhelming joy to be able to become a Marine today,” said Pvt. Jace A. Pido, a new Company G Marine. “This means I’m becoming part of a new generation. It’s just a great feeling.”
Members of the Montford Point Marine Association watched as the transformation took place. These Marines were the first African-American men to serve in the Corps when President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended discrimination in the armed forces. Still, they were segregated from other Marines and trained at a facility at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina known as Montford Point.
“Marines today talk about the Marines of the past; of the great things they’ve done. But standing here today, I can tell you the Marines of today have fit the groove perfectly,” said Robert D. Reid, one of the seven original Montford Point Marines. “They have just as much tenacity and they’re just as vicious as Marines of the past.”
After a few tears of joy and a flurry of emotions, Company G sang the Marines Hymn for the first time as U.S. Marines then joined the Montford Point Marines in birthday celebrations including a cake cutting ceremony and the reading of Gen. John A. Lejeune’s birthday message.
“My brother’s a Marine and this is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Pvt. Justin L. McCard, Company G, 2nd RTBn., RTR. “It made me feel proud standing up there, especially on the Marine Corps birthday. It really means a lot.”
||SAN DIEGO, CA, US
This work, Recruits become Marines as Corps celebrates 236 years, by SSgt Cristina Porras, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.