3/7 Marines look forward to Marine Corps birthday

5 Nov 2005 | Cpl. Shane Suzuki

When you’re a United States Marine, certain things are inevitable. Standing all-night guard posts, annual rifle qualifications and field days are just some of the tasks that Marines must do. However, along with the long days and sleepless nights are special occasions, and none are bigger than the celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday, Nov. 10. This year, the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, are going to spend the birthday in Iraq while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For some, this will be their first Marine Corps birthday away from the states, for others it will be their first birthday period, and for others still, this may be their third, fourth or even fifth birthday while on deployment. However, the birthday is more than the ball. It is a celebration of what it means to be a Marine, a chance to honor the sacrifices and greatness of past Marines and an opportunity to look ahead to future challenges. Traditions such as the reading of General John A. Lejeune’s Birthday Message and serving the first pieces of cake to the oldest and youngest Marine are symbolic of both the strong history and promising future of the Marine Corps. Here, Marines will be joining their brothers and sisters around the world celebrating the Marine Corps’ 230th birthday by doing what Marines have spent their entire history doing – winning battles and protecting American interests around the globe. “I don’t think it matters where you spend the birthday, it’s about the people you spend it with,” said Lance Cpl. Matt Anderson, the assistant ammunition chief for 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “As long as I’m spending it with my brothers in the Marine Corps.” Another Marine, Lance Cpl. James Wolf agrees that it is not where you spend the birthday; it’s the company you keep the really makes the occasion special. “It’s a great chance to spend time with all the friends you’ve made in the Marine Corps,” said the Las Vegas native. “That’s what being a Marine is all about anyway, being a part of a brotherhood.” To help bring a little bit of home to Ramadi, the battalion will have the traditional cake cutting ceremony, led by the oldest Marine in the battalion, Sgt. Maj. Walter Kilgore. The battalion will also decorate the chow hall and provide some festivities for the Marines who will miss one of the largest military traditions. And while the cake cutting and birthday message are important, for others, the symbolism and tradition is what really matters. The Marine Corps has more than two centuries of stories, accomplishments and history to share and reflect on and for many the birthday is the perfect opportunity to celebrate being a part of the world’s finest fighting force. “I think it might be the biggest tradition we have,” said Cpl. Jeremy Bolden, a machine gunner with the battalion. “The birthday is our own holiday and is a chance to remember what it means to be a Marine. Just because we are in Iraq doesn’t make it less important.”