NEW YORK - The Marine Corps’ birthday is celebrated by Marines around the world every year on, or around, November 10. Marines and sailors aboard the USS New York gathered together Nov. 7, 2013, to recognize the Corps’ 238th birthday while sailing to New York City for a New York port call as part of the upcoming Veterans Day festivities.
Marines and sailors from II Marine Expeditionary Force departed on the USS New York from Norfolk, Va., to travel to Manhattan. Since the Marine Corps’ birthday happened during their stay, the ship celebrated the birthday underway to New York.
Ship patrons packed the USS New York’s hangar bay and held a birthday ceremony, where Gen. John A. Lejeune’s birthday message was read, along with the commandant’s message.
“This year, we celebrate the anniversary of several epic battles in our celebrated history: the 70th anniversary of the 2nd Marine Division landing on Tarawa, the 45th anniversary of the Battle of Hue City, and the 10th anniversary of the “March Up” to Baghdad,” reads Gen. James F. Amos’ birthday message. “Marines who fought in these legendary battles each made their mark upon the history of our Corps. They have passed a rich and illustrious legacy on to us – a much heralded reputation.”
Lance Cpl. Justin Spader, a motor transport mechanic with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, said he enjoyed the unique way the Marines and sailors aboard the ship celebrated the Marine Corps’ 238th birthday. He was also the youngest Marine present during the ceremony , during which according to custom he was passed the second piece of cake from the oldest Marine present. This signifies the passing of tradition from one generation to the next.
“Having three first times at once is exciting for me to experience,” Spader said. This is my first time on ship, my first time seeing a cake-cutting ceremony, and my first time being a part of the ceremony.”
Navy Captain Jon Kreitz, the captain of the USS New York, was the guest of honor at the cake-cutting ceremony.
“I’m honored to have you all onboard the USS New York to celebrate the Marines’ 238th birthday,” Kreitz said, addressing the Marines in formation. “We hope this is a memorable and unique experience for all of you.”
The USS New York held a party for the Marines after the ceremony, which included the birthday cake and a band performance by a Navy band.
“I didn’t even know I was going on this trip until a week prior,” Spader said. “I originally planned on going to the ball with the unit, but being here on the USS New York for our birthday beats that any day.”