COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Active duty and reserve component Marines joined civilian members of the federal workforce at Defense Supply Center Columbus to celebrate the U.S. Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday.
The Nov. 8 event filled the auditorium inside the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Operations Center as attendees welcomed John Wolfe, former mayor of Whitehall, Ohio.
The auditorium stood at attention while members of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment color guard marched into the room and presented the colors. Annette Peaks, a Land and Maritime management and program analyst, performed a stirring rendition of the National Anthem which was greeted by enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
Wolfe, a Land and Maritime Hall of Fame inductee, shared his history as a young Marine supporting operations in Korea and how his experiences in the military helped shape his commitment to public service.
“I haven’t worn the uniform for 59 years,” Wolfe said. “But I am a Marine.”
During his 14 years as mayor, Wolfe worked closely with DSCC – his city’s largest tenant. In 2003, he received the Defense Logistics Agency Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his consistent support. He became a permanent part of the agency’s history in 2011 after his induction into Land and Maritime’s Hall of Fame.
“I could speak for hours about the virtues of the Marine Corps,” Wolfe said. “But with this crowd – I’d be preaching to the choir. On this installation you understand what it takes to ensure Warfighters get the materials they need to fulfill their missions. You understand the meaning of duty and sacrifice.”
In 1921, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John LeJeune published a message of remembrance and tribute to recognize the historical contributions of the USMC. DLA Land and Maritime’s Maj. Alan Thompson and Master Sgt. Rohan Smith reread LeJeune’s original message to the audience.
The Marine Corps has continued that legacy by publishing a new message of inspiration and motivation for the troops each year during the birthday event. The 2017 message included a video featuring USMC Commandant Gen. Robert Neller at the site of a WWII battle in the Solomon Islands at Guadalcanal. He recalled the sacrifices made by fellow Marines and the importance of remembering and honoring their legacies.
“(The story of the Marines) is about leadership, and perseverance – and resilience,” Neller said. “It’s important for all of us to remember where we came from, and who we are and why we’re here on our birthday.”
Following tradition, the youngest and oldest Marines in attendance along with the guest of honor received the first pieces of the large birthday cake. Thompson sliced the cake using a military saber.
Sgt. Abner Corona Aquilera, 24, a supply chief with Lima Company, 3rd Bn, 25th Marine Regt. represented the youngest Marine, while retired Master Sgt. Michael Rundle, 73, fulfilled the role of oldest Marine in the ceremony.
“Tributes and monuments remind us of our past,” Wolfe said. “And remember – history will only repeat itself when we forget.”
Neller’s birthday message echoed that sentiment: “Remember the past and honor those who are no longer with us. Think about what’s happening today – and get ready for tomorrow.”