USS Harry S. Truman, At Sea (NNS) -- Marines assigned to "The Checkerboards" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 celebrated the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps with a 235-mile run on treadmills aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Nov. 10.
One hundred and twenty three Marines assigned to the F/A-18C Hornet fighter squadron took turns running on four treadmills in the ship's hangar bay during a 10 hour period, from 6:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
"We try to do something, especially if we're deployed, to honor the celebration of the Marine Corps' birthday," said VMFA 312 Command Sgt. Maj. Reginald Baker, who ran two miles during the event. "This is something that brings the unit together, establishes camaraderie and gets us to sweat a little while honoring our birthday."
Marine commands typically organize an event involving a run or a 'hump', an extended patrol exercise with full gear, on the Marine Corps birthday, said Baker.
The first 120 Marines ran two miles apiece and the final three Marines running one mile each to bring the total to 235 miles.
"It's motivating to do this for the Marine Corps' birthday while we're deployed supporting our Marines and other coalition ground forces in Afghanistan," said Cpl. Ellen Wright.
After completing the 235 mile run, Marines showered and gathered in Truman's foc'sle for a special cake-cutting ceremony in honor of the Marine Corps' long history of service.
"We are what we are because of the sweat, effort, blood and sacrifice made by those Marines before us," said Baker. "The intangibles of celebrating our birthday in a combat environment are what we stand for. The 'tip of the spear' is what the Marine Corps is all about; this is the epitome of celebrating."
VMFA 312 is deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.