PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus welcomed 626 of the nation's newest Marines to the Marine Corps Nov. 1 during a recruit graduation ceremony at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Parris Island, S.C.
During the ceremony, Mabus, the guest of honor, thanked the new Marines for volunteering to carry on a generations-long tradition of selfless service to the United States of America.
"It is a remarkable thing," said Mabus."Every one of you walked into a recruiter's office in a time of war and said, 'send me.' You are now the ones who represent the fighting spirit of the United States Marine Corps," Mabus continued, "and you will now follow those who have gone before you to defend freedom and democracy around the world."
Mabus also thanked the families gathered on the MCRD Parris Island parade deck to watch their sons and daughters become Marines for their contributions to the future of the Marine Corps.
"The service and sacrifice of our military families is something we must never stop recognizing," he said.
While the ceremony served as an example of the precision and professionalism that characterize the Marine Corps and impressed many of the family members on hand, Mabus ensured the new Marines were also well aware of the importance of their character and values.
"I want you to remember that our core values aren't advertising slogans. They must be how you live your lives," he said. "For almost 238 years, they have been the ideals that have bound our Marine Corps and our Navy together, and prepared us to represent our nation around the world. I am confident that each and every one of you will proudly serve our country with honor, courage and commitment."
Parris Island has been a site for Marine Corps recruit training since Nov. 1, 1915. Today, approximately 20,000 recruits come to Parris Island annually, enduring 13 weeks of rigorous, transformative training. Parris Island is home to entry-level enlisted Marines training for 50 percent of males and 100 percent of females in the Marine Corps.
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