MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines, sailors and families with the Combat Center’s Headquarters Battalion came together to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 238th birthday at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nov. 10, 2013.
Hundreds of Marines reveled in their shared birthday. It is the time of year when Marines decorate themselves in their dress blue “A” uniform to celebrate their proud military heritage.
The ceremony, steeped in tradition, featured Sgt. Maj. Ray V. Wilburn (Ret.), a well-known veteran in the Twentynine Palms community. At 94 years old, Wilburn was the oldest Marine present and the battalion’s guest of honor.
“We are privileged to be in the same room, standing side by side with a giant,” said Maj. Gen. David H. Berger, Combat Center Commanding General, referring to Wilburn. “He’s the kind of legend that you and I read about. It’s incredible to have a living legend with us tonight.”
During his 30-year career, Wilburn survived much of the Marine Corps’ historic wars and key battles. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. While Wilburn had the floor, he shared some of his stories, starting with his modest upbringing on through his Marine Corps career.
“I joined the Marine Corps because I was hungry,” Wilburn said jokingly. “Standing here in front of all this talent is truly humbling.”
Along with Wilburn’s account of his years in the Marine Corps, the ceremony included a message from the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, reading from Maj. Gen John A. Lejuene, and the cutting of the birthday cake.
After the ceremony all in attendance joined together with dinner, music and some light hearted dancing. Camaraderie and esprit de corps was in the air as every celebrated.
The Marine Corps’ birthday is always cause for celebration whether forward deployed or in garrison. Marines will pause on that day and remember our history. It’s also a time to reflect on what Marines have done for the country.
After 238 years the Marine Corps is still standing strong. Marines worldwide are still in the fight and will continues for another 238 years and beyond to keep our traditions alive.