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Marine Corps celebrates 235 years of service

Photo by Jennifer Parks

Photo by Jennifer Parks

MCLB-ALBANY, Ga. -- They've lasted another year.

A ceremony was held aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany Wednesday morning to commemorate the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps.

The program included a uniform pageant demonstrating how the Corps has evolved from 1775 to the present by several Marines wearing uniforms from various eras in history, as well as a performance by the Albany Marine Band.

Cpl. Jason Womelsdorf participated in the uniform pageant by coming as a 1775 Marine.

"Nothing survives this long without a legacy," the corporal said. "Without commemorating something, you can't remember who you are."

Col. Terry Williams, commanding officer of MCLB-Albany, and Maj. Gen. James Kessler, commanding general of Marine Corps Logistics Command, also participated in the event by giving remarks.

"This is an extremely important day for Marines; it gives us an opportunity to think about our lineage," said Kessler. "It's important as Marines that we understand our history. It's from our history that we build our future.

"As Marines we are fighters. My challenge to Marines is to look for the fight and go after it. Look for the fight and engage our enemy."

At the ceremony's conclusion, Williams used a Mameluke sword to cut the cake.

"We all know America has called us in the past, and when she has called, we have answered," the colonel said during his remarks. "In some instances we have answered with supplies, water, food and comfort to (victims) of humanitarian disasters. Any one of us in uniform knows we take the toughest fight and that Marines have not just answered (the nation's calls) but with enthusiasm.

"The nation's force and readiness will not be going anywhere. We will ensure the situation is always well in hand."

As is custom, the first piece of cake cut went to the oldest Marine present, Col. Ben Braden, chief of staff at Marine Corps Logistics Command.

"I think it's an honor that I've survived this long," said Braden, who has been in the Corps for 38 years. "The birthday ball is emotional for all Marines. It's always fun to reflect on our history because we always get wrapped up in day-to-day business."

The tradition also calls for the first piece to then be passed along to the youngest Marine present, which was Lance Cpl. Will Harper. Officials say that part of the tradition signifies the passing of experience and knowledge from the old to the young.

"The cake-cutting ceremony is symbolic," said Braden, who plans to retire next year. "It (represents) passing along the legacy of the Corps."