MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
They fought in the historic battles of the Pacific campaign during World War II. They persevered through the bombing of Beirut, Lebanon and joined the fight in Operation Desert Storm. They waged war during the battle of Fallujah and returned to Lebanon to assist in the evacuation of U.S. nationals with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. On April 14, 2011, they stood proudly, prepared to add yet another streamer to their battle colors.
The Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, who recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, gathered aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for a rare ceremony, the pinning of a campaign streamer to the unit’s battle colors.
“It’s my first time witnessing and being a part of a unit earning a campaign streamer for their battle colors,” said Sgt. Maj. Steve E. Rice, the battalion’s sergeant major. “It’s a big deal and the battalion commander wanted to make it a point that everyone touch the battle streamer so they know five, 50 or 100 years down the road, that these Marines and sailors were the ones to earn the campaign streamer on the 1/8 battle colors. We thought that it would be a great memory and opportunity for each Marine and sailor to say that before the battle streamer was affixed to the colors, I held it, because I earned it.”
The streamer was passed from the hands of officer to enlisted, from senior to junior Marines in silent reverence; all had paid for it with blood, sweat and tears.
“I think that having each Marine touch the battle streamer was a good idea,” said 1st Lt. Robert E. Rain, a platoon commander with the battalion. The Marines all felt a part of it, and every single (service member) out there earned it”
Once each Marine and sailor had touched the streamer, it was passed through the hands of three Marines who were injured during operations in Afghanistan. It stopped in the hands of Staff Sgt. Glen A. Silva, a platoon sergeant with 81mm mortar platoon, who took the streamer and attached it to the battalion battle colors.
“I was just honored that three wounded Marines from our platoon were able to come down and be a part of the ceremony,” said Rain. “I was proud to be a part of this ceremony.”