News: Navy celebrates 237 years of pride
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
IWAKUNI, Japan - Two hundred and thirty-seven years of U.S. Naval history, service and pride were on display during the Navy Ball at the Club Iwakuni Ballroom here Oct. 12, 2012.
Sailors and Marines came together in recognition of the efforts the U.S. Navy has contributed to keeping America safe.
The night started with the arrival of the official party and the parading of the colors.
The guest speaker for the ball was Navy Capt. Moise Willis, Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic senior medical officer. As the official party entered, a single bell rang, signifying their arrival.
Those in attendance took a moment to remember those killed or missing in action by setting aside mementos to honor them.
After the moment of silence, the bell was rung once again for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Once respects were rendered, Willis spoke about what he believes has and continues to contribute to the success of the U.S. Navy.
“Shipmates, you’re charged with getting out of the office and circulating among your troops,” said Willis. “In other words, leadership is a contact sport. You get firsthand knowledge needed to make informed, accurate decisions. Your visibility in your sailors’ working space creates a sense of commitment, collaboration and community. This is also your opportunity to mentor and guide on immediate and future goals.”
Linking the newest generation of sailors with their past was integral to preserving the U.S. Navy and America’s legacy.
“Honor your heritage to connect our sailors to their past by teaching customs, ceremonies and traditions,” said Willis.
Integrity was another important theme relayed to those who attended.
“Be the leader with uncompromising integrity,” said Willis. “Always do the right thing, especially when no one is looking. Enforce and uphold our Navy ethos: honor, courage and commitment. Do not allow them to be tarnished.”
Willis also spoke of those who have helped keep the Navy strong over the years.
“No one travels this road alone,” said Willis. “I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to thank our spouses and significant others who have joined us tonight. Your support, encouragement and sacrifices are truly appreciated. Thank you for trusting the United States Navy with your loved ones. You too are doing a service for our country.”
Once Willis concluded his speech, the cake-cutting ceremony began. The cake, a multi-tiered confectionery masterpiece, paraded before the crowd. The youngest and oldest sailors in attendance, Seaman Darion Black, Branch Health Clinic hospital corpsman, and Navy Capt. Elizabeth B. Gaskin, 11th Dental Company Detachment, 3rd Dental Battalion, Navy Dental Clinic Okinawa, received a slice of cake.
The night culminated with toasts. The night then turned over to engaging in fun-filled dancing and merry-making until the event’s conclusion.