Henderson Hall Marines celebrate 238 years
November 12, 2013
ARLINGTON, Va. - Marines from Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall and fellow servicemembers gathered at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Va., Nov. 2 to celebrate the 238th Marine Corps Birthday at its annual birthday ball.
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John M. Paxton Jr. served as the guest speaker during the gala.
One of the traditions observed during the Marine Corps birthday is the cake cutting ceremony. During this time the oldest and youngest Marines in attendance are recognized and share a piece of cake. Col. Patrick M. DeLatte was the oldest active duty Marine present. DeLatte joined the Corps in May 1985 and is now stationed at Headquarters and Service Battalion Henderson Hall.
The youngest Marine present was Pfc. Tahira Lawrence. The 18-year-old enlisted in the Marine Corps January, 2013. When asked about assuming such an important role during the ceremony, Lawrence said, "It was a great experience and an honor." This was Lawrence's first birthday ball, which she said was great because she got to see the Marines come together in a fun setting.
The cake-cutting tradition was expanded this year, as H&S Bn. staff recognized the oldest Marine veteran present as well, Joseph Britt, 97, who served from March 1944 to December 1945. The crowd of nearly 500 Marines, servicemembers and guests all gave Britt a standing ovation for his service.
During Paxton's speech, he spoke about the sacrifices not only made by servicemembers, but by spouses and loved ones of Marines as well. Paxton recognized the many Marine veterans in the audience, like Britt, who have served their country and the Corps for nearly 70 years. He also focused on the "eternal spirit," and many operations Marines have had the honor to serve in.
"You don't need to be a World War Two Marine, you don't need to be a Navy Cross recipient in 2nd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment last week," said Paxton. "Today, tonight and for the future, all you need to be is a Marine."