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News | Nov. 17, 2020

Marine Corps celebrates 245th birthday in Columbus

By James Harless DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

The Marine Corps celebrated 245 years of service to the nation during a birthday celebration at the Defense Supply Center Columbus Nov. 10.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global health pandemic, adjustments were made to best adhere to the long-held traditions of the ceremony while following the required health and safety requirements.

Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime associate and Marine veteran, Nicole Banks, served as mistress of ceremony and began the ceremony by asking fellow Land and Maritime associate and Marine veteran Nicole Brown to join her on the stage for a reading of the Marines’ Prayer.

Following the prayer, a video was played that incorporated a message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger who shared personal stories of bravery from Marines who served in World War II, Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Following the video, DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry was invited to the stage to provide opening remarks as the guest of honor and keynote speaker,

“That was a timely and inspiring message from General Berger, the top warrior who on this day represents all Marines, past and present, as we gather to honor both their bravery and sacrifice. Fabry said.  “We’re adapting our operations processes in response to the COVID-19 health emergency, and we certainly appreciate your support in our restructured safety efforts. With that said, it’s fitting that today we at Land and Maritime demonstrate our resolve to commemorate the unquestioned dedication of our nation’s Marines.”

While speaking to those in attendance and streaming the event online, Fabry acknowledged the active duty Marines in attendance as well as the 81 Marine Corps veterans currently working for DLA Land and Maritime and asked all Marines in attendance to please stand for a round of applause.

“Many of us have worked side by side with Marines throughout our careers and can attest to their dedication to our warfighting spirit,” Fabry said. “With their core values of honor, courage and commitment as guidance – Marines are the embodiment of what makes our nation so great.”

Following Fabry’s remarks, Brown returned to the stage to join Banks in the reading of Lt. Gen. John Lejeune’s 1921 birthday message to the Corps. Lejeune was the Marine Corps’ 13th commandant and namesake of Camp Lejeune, a military training facility in North Carolina. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the traditional cake-cutting ceremony of  providing a slice of cake to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present symbolizing the passing of knowledge, wisdom and experience from one generation to the next had to be slightly altered with pre-sliced pieces of cake.

Keeping with Marine Corps tradition, the first piece of cake was given to Fabry as the guest of honor.

The next piece was then given to Richard L. Zolman, Jr., who was the oldest Marine present. Zolman, was born in 1958 and commissioned in the Marine Corps on Dec. 22, 1980. He retired from the Marine Corps in January 2001 and currently serves as a customer account specialist in Land Customer Operations Directorate, Operating Forces Division, and will soon be retiring after 12 years of service.

The final piece of cake was then presented to Shane Kurilla, the youngest Marine present. Kurilla was born in 1990 and enlisted in the Marine Corps on Sept. 15, 2008. Kurilla is currently working as a lead material planner for Land and Maritime’s Land Supplier Operations Directorate.

The program concluded with the playing of Anchors Aweigh and the Marines’ Hymn.