Fort Sill Marines celebrate Corps' 237th birthday
November 15, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. -- The Fort Sill Marine Artillery Detachment celebrated its service's 237th birthday Nov. 8 with a cake cutting, traditional reading of orders and a lunch near Geronimo and Corral roads here.
"We're commemorating the 237th founding of the Marine Corps November 10, 1775, at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, where Marines first met and recruiting took place for the two battalions that were directed by Congress," said Col. Doug Thomas, MARDET commanding officer.
The Marines have a long and illustrious legacy, he said.
"From the first battles of the American Revolution to the things that are going on in Afghanistan today, Marines have always been there for each other and their country," Thomas said.
He also spoke about the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II.
"Back in August 1942, just eight months after Pearl Harbor, Marines landed on Guadalcanal --really the first major offensive in the Pacific," Thomas said. The War Department had determined the Marines were the most ready force to begin the push-back of the Japanese.
It's the Marine attitude that sets its members apart from the other armed services, he said. And, it is instilled in basic training and officer candidate school.
"We're going to try harder, we're going to be better and we're going to do things the right way," Thomas said. "No matter the situation, America can count on the Marine Corps."
During the ceremony, Thomas, assisted by Sgt. Maj. Joe Thornton, MARDET sergeant major, cut the birthday cake.
Thomas served the first piece to the oldest Marine at the MARDET, retired Lt. Col. Phillip Beck, 56. Then Beck served the second piece to the youngest Marine, Pvt. Guillermo Roasales, 18, of El Paso, Texas.
"It's a huge honor and privilege, and I'm proud to be part of the ceremony," said Roasales, a student who just began the five-week field artillery cannoneer course. Roasales said he also participated in the cake cutting at the Marine Corps Ball Nov. 3, at the Patriot Club.
Beck, who performed the ceremony's invocation, retired from the Marine Corps in 2000. He is the
MARDET director of academics.
"It's a privilege (to cut the cake), it's not something you aspire to do to be the oldest Marine, but it just has happened," Beck said. He noted he is the oldest Marine at the MARDET, but not at Lawton-Fort Sill, which has a good-sized contingent of retired Marines.
Following protocol, Capt. Ben Gardner, Basic Officer Leader Course instructor, read the 1921 Marine Corps Order from Lt. Gen. John Lejeune, the 13th commandant.
"In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term 'Marine' has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue," Gardner said.
The program narrator read the 2012 birthday message from Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant:
"As we look toward the future, we know that our sentimental places are assured in the hearts of our fellow Americans and critical role in the defense of our way of life. America has always wanted a Marine Corps, it's always been that way. Now, more than ever, America needs its Marines as we confront a dangerous and unpredictable world ... Happy birthday Marines, and Semper Fidelis."