Marines from Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall gathered at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, Va., Nov. 1, in celebration of the 239th Marine Corps Birthday.
Just under 600 Marines, service members and their guests from around the National Capital Region attended the event. The crowd of "Devil Dogs" donning dress blues peppered by evening gowns filled the hotel's sprawling ballroom.
The traditional cake-cutting ceremony took place followed by the passing of the cake from the youngest Marine present to the oldest, which symbolizes the passing of history and traditions to the next generation.
The oldest Marine veteran present, Pvt. Joseph Lee Britt, received recognition for the second year in a row at the HQMC birthday ball. Britt, 98, enlisted in the USMC March 15, 1944.
Attending his first birthday ball, the youngest Marine present, Lance Cpl. Eric W. Acosta, 19, enlisted July 22, 2013. Assigned to Henderson Hall in April, Acosta currently serves as driver to the commanding officer, a position he has held for three months.
"It was an honor to be the youngest Marine present," said Acosta. "Not everyone can say they stood up there next to the oldest Marine present to serve as an important part of the tradition."
Guest of honor and Marine Corps Deputy Commandant, Plans, Policies and Operations, Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey gave remarks during the gala. He noted the importance of recognizing Marines of the past and present.
"Entwined with the history of our nation is the story of the U.S. Marine Corps. A legacy born on iron will and discipline," said Bailey. "I want you to reflect, remember and rededicate yourself because that is what the birthday is about.
"It is remembering those Marines who have made the ultimate sacrifice, it is remembering your friends, the people sitting at your table, and the special bond that we have," he said.
The population of the Henderson Hall portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, consists of 2,000 Marines, 1,200 civilians and 2,800 family members. The installation provides administrative, logistical and quality-of-life services to all Marines stationed throughout the National Capital Region.
The Marine Corps came into existence the year 1775 in Philadelphia, when the second Continental Congress passed a resolution that formalized the establishment of the Corps.
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