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MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -Maj. Jay Rogers, 56, the food service officer with Headquarters Battalion, prepares to taste the birthday cake at the Combat Center's 234th Marine Corps Birthday Pageant at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field Nov. 6. Rogers was the oldest Marine present and the youngest Marine was Pfc. Amber Martin, 18, a student at the Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School.

Photo by Pvt. Michael T. Gams

Combat Center reflects on uniform history

13 Nov 2009 | Pvt. Michael T. Gams

As visitors stepped onto the Combat Center’s Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field Nov. 6, they may have noticed something strange about the way some Marines were dressed.

Marines from the Combat Center’s Headquarters Battalion dressed in Marine Corps uniforms dating back from 1775 to the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform worn today during the 234th Marine Corps Birthday Pageant.

Combat Center personnel, children from local elementary schools and members of the community were among those who came to watch the historical event.

“The Marines busted their tails out here all week,” said 1st Sgt. Nelson Hidalgo, the first sergeant for Company B, Headquarters Bn., about the long hours and hard work the pageant period players put in to prepare for the ceremony.

As each Marine crossed the field in their respective, historical attire, a short synopsis of the era they represented was narrated to the crowd.

“This is an important time to remember our history,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel M. Barulich, who portrayed a World War II era Marine during the ceremony. “The Marine Corps Birthday is Nov. 10, Veteran’s Day is the 11th, it’s important to remember those who have come before us.”

After the last uniform-clad Marine marched onto the field, that is exactly what happened.

Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune’s birthday message, along with a message from the Commadant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway, was read followed by comments from Brig. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III, the Combat Center’s commanding general.

In keeping with the traditions of a Marine Corps Birthday celebration, a traditional cake-cutting ceremony was held to conclude the event.

The cake is traditionally cut with a sword, representing the Marine Corps’ commitment to fight for right and freedom. The first piece is shared by the oldest and youngest Marines present. This sharing represents the passing of knowledge from one generation of Marines to the next.

The oldest Marine at the pageant was Maj. Jay Rogers, 56, the food service officer with Headquarters Bn., and the youngest was Pfc. Amber Martin, 18, a student at the Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School here.

“Events like [the birthday pageant] give us as Marines a chance to reflect on our core values and appreciate the traditions of our Corps,” said Barulich after the pageant.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms