USS KEARSARGE, At Sea (NNS) -- More than 1,300 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit celebrated the Marine Corps' 235th birthday with a traditional cake cutting ceremony aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Nov. 10.
In the shadow of MV-22 Ospreys and AV-8B Harriers on the Flight Deck of Kearsarge, 26 MEU and their Navy counterparts took a moment to observe the formation of the original two Marine battalions by the Continental Congress Nov. 10, 1775.
"Today is more than just an acknowledgment of a milestone, it's a rededication to our corps and to our country," said Col. Mark Desens, 26 MEU commanding officer. "It's a reaffirmation of our brotherhood, past and present. It's that bond between the Marines standing next to you and those serving around the globe."
From Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima and Afghanistan to the sands of Iraq, Marines serving around the world have always answered the call to duty. Two months into a deployment in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, 26 MEU has continued that tradition by playing a large role in both humanitarian efforts in Pakistan and maritime security operations off the coast of Africa.
"Elements of 26 MEU have just completed two months of humanitarian assistant operations in flood-ravaged Pakistan and will soon re-join us here aboard Kearsarge," said Desens. "This ship and its embarked units will continue to keep those who wish to do harm to our great nation at bay."
Reflecting on accomplishments both past and present is the same sentiment Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune , the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, voiced in his birthday message to the Marine Corps 89 years ago, which was placed forever in the United States Marine Corps Manual. That same message was recited by the ceremony's Adjutant, Staff Sgt. Joseph Marshall.
"Many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history," recited Marshall.
Following in the footsteps of tradition, Marines, regardless of their location, observe the Marine Corps' birthday by sharing cake.
Lance Cpl. Benjamin Richardson, the youngest Marine serving aboard Kearsarge, had the honor of receiving cake passed to him by Desens, representing the experienced Marines leading the younger Marines.
As the ceremony drew to a close, Desens had one last message for his Marines.
"Enjoy this day and take a moment to remember that of all the things you could be in this world, you have the unique privilege of being a United States Marine."
For more news from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.