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Happy Birthday Marines

By Lance Cpl. Gregory Aalto | | November 8, 2007

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 The 2007 Marine Corps Birthday cake cutting ceremony and uniform pageant to celebrate and honor Corps traditions and history was held Nov. 7 on the station parade deck.

 “Having the cake cutting ceremony and uniform pageant gives Marines, sailors, dependents and community members an opportunity to come and witness a reenactment of the history of the Marine Corps,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Knauth, Combat Camera staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge and pageant coordinator.

 After the invocation by Lt. Shawn Osborne, station chaplain, the event began with the uniform pageant.

 “The uniform pageant is a living lineage of Marine Corps history. We take Continental Marines from 1776, and transition all the way to present day Marines in their dress blues. It allows for the spectator to see what Marines looked like during the battles the narrator is explaining,” said Knauth.

 As each time period was presented, narration explained facts about the specific era.

 “We were able to incorporate a special tribute to Iwo Jima Marines by having a six-man team simulate the flag raising on Mount Suribachi,” Knauth explained.

 The pageant featured 31 service members from E-2 to E-6.

 “Luckily we were able to have all volunteers for the pageant. So it’s great to have Marines out there who have a passion for the Marine Corps and everything it represents showing their pride,” said Knauth.

 “I did the pageant last year as well and it takes a lot of time and effort to be a part of. But I feel it is a great way to spend your time because it honors those Marines that are no longer with us today,” said Lance Cpl. Bryan Weingart, H&HS weather observer and Korean War era pageant participant.

 Those in attendance then listened to Lt. Gen. John Lejeune’s, 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, 146th Marine Corps birthday message, followed by the current commandant’s birthday message and station commanding officer Col. Ben Hancock’s remarks.

 After the pageant was over, the cake cutting ceremony displayed the oldest and youngest Marine present.

 A Search and Rescue corpsman rappelled 100 feet to deliver the cake cutting non-commissioned officers sword to Hancock.

 “It symbolizes the cooperation of the Marine Corps and Navy since the inception of the Corps,” added Knauth.

 The first slice was presented to Master Sgt. David Ponder, Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 sergeant major, who then passed the second piece to Lance Cpl. Dynolene Benally, 18, Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron food service technician.

 “I am just coming to grips on being the oldest Marine at the station, I am not that old,” said Ponder, 45.

 The event concluded with the Marines Hymn and the dismissal of the platoons.

 “This is the first pageant I’ve attended as a Marine -- and it’s different now that I’m a part of what’s being represented,” said Lance Cpl. Brice Sparks, H&HS combat photographer.

 “I’ve worked on station for 25 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen the pageant. It’s nice to enjoy and appreciate everything that the Marine Corps is when you’re not working,” said Beverly Wright, a budget analyst and civilian pageant attendee.

 “I thought the historical context was very interesting,” added her husband, Morgan Wright. “It was very impressive overall.”

 “The day’s events tells the story of the Marine Corps. It reiterates the history of the Marine Corps to the Marines and veterans, but more importantly it tells the story of where we have been and where we are going to the civilians in attendance,” said Sgt. Maj. Manuel Garibay Jr., station sergeant major.


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