Marines celebrate 234th birthday in Baghdad
Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Tim Cortes, senior non-commissioned officer in charge of the counter improvised explosive device operations integration cell, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, reads the rifleman's Creed from a scroll during the Marine Corps 234th Birthday Ceremony held in the Al Faw Palace, Camp Victory, Baghdad, Nov. 10.

It was November 10, 1775, in a small rustic building called Tun Tavern in Philadelphia that the Marine Corps was born.

The tavern was initially used as a recruiting station by Benjamin Franklin for the Pennsylvania Militia, and later, it hosted a meeting for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress. Samuel Nicholas, considered the first commandant, initiated the Continental Congress to recruit at the tavern and form the Continental Marines, now known as the United States Marine Corps.

Now, 234 years later, crowds filtered into the Al Faw Palace rotunda Nov. 10 to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday, filling up the seating areas and the many balconies overlooking the celebration.

"It's the most amazing feeling to be a Marine in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces partaking in a Marine Corps ceremony," said Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Tim Cortes, senior non-commissioned officer in charge of the counter improvised explosive device operations integration cell, Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

The Marine Corps is the smallest of the four U.S. armed forces with just over 203,000 Marines. Since the birth of the Marine Corps, they have participated in every American armed conflict.
Maj. Gen. Steven Hummer, Combined Joint Operations deputy chief of staff, Multi-National Force-Iraq, thanked Marines for all that they have done.

"We gather here today to review the glorious history, to remember the Marines of the past, to thank the Marines of the present for their selfless contributions and to encourage those potential Marines who will carry on our self reigning history long into the future," said Hummer.

Marine Cpl. Ticiane Deoliveira was proud to be a part of the Marine Corps history and to carry on a family tradition.

"I joined the Marines to serve my country and make my father, a former Marine, proud," Deoliveira, counter improvised explosive device operations and integration center, MNC-I, said. "I am proud to be a Marine because we have high standards and we carry on a legacy that few had the opportunity to hold."

While being a minority among Soldiers in the palace, one Marine joked about his reason for joining.

"I joined the Marines because the Army recruiter told me I was far too funny and charismatic to be a Soldier," said Sgt. Matthew Christensen, a personal security detail agent with the Combined Joint Operations, MNF-I.

While many Marines are proud of their history and ability to distinguish themselves as troops, many are also proud to work in a joint environment.

"I'm happy to be in a joint environment working with the sister services," Cortes said. "Not only are we partaking in partnership with the Iraqis but with our sister services. It's one team one fight."

Page last updated Fri November 13th, 2009 at 04:31