DLA Aviation Marines celebrate 242nd birthday

By Kimberly K. Fritz, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Marines observed the 242nd birthday of the renowned fighting force in a ceremony steeped in traditions at the Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, Nov. 9.

The Marine Corps was established Nov. 10, 1775 in a tavern in Philadelphia by resolution of the Continental Congress.

Each year the ceremony includes a reading of the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lt. Gen. John Lejeune’s message from 1921 that directed a reminder of the honorable service of the Corps be published by every command, to all Marines throughout the world on the birthday of the Corps.  The order summarized the history, the mission and the tradition of the Corps. Soon after, Marine commands began to celebrate the occasion as well as honor it, said Marine Col. AJ Manuel, Marine aviation logistics lead, Marine Division, Customer Operations Directorate, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation.  

“The first Marine Ball took place in Philadelphia in 1925,” Manuel said. “Before the ball began Lt. Gen. Lejeune unveiled a memorial plaque at Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the Marine Corps.”

Manuel described how the birthday ball grew and how in 1952, the Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. Lemuel C. Shepard Jr., formalized the cake-cutting ceremony and other observances.

“A current Marine Corps policy mandates the first piece of cake must be presented to the oldest Marine present and passed to the youngest representing the passing of tradition from generation to generation,” he said.

Cathy Contreras, DLA Aviation acquisition executive, served as the guest of honor.

In her remarks, she spoke about how Marines come from all walks of life, answer the call to serve and often make sacrifices.

“I am proud to lead and serve alongside all of you as we work to make a difference for the warfighter,” Contreras said. “I know firsthand what it is like to be part of a military family and the hardships of long deployments and separation from your loved ones.”

The Marines have been innovative in their long history, Contreras said.

“They have an ‘adapt and overcome’ mindset to accomplish their mission,” she continued. “DLA has been innovative as well transforming our traditional businesses of managing warehouses full of inventory to streamlined processes and enterprise resourcing tools to fill our customers’ needs more consistently.” 

Contreras ended her remarks with a sentiment about service.

“I want to say again how proud I am to serve with all of you in uniform and in the civilian workforce,” she said. “I thank all of you who serve and have served in our military and I want to wish our Marines a happy 242nd birthday!  May god bless you, our, and our great country. Semper fidelis!”

A color guard consisting of retired and veteran Marines from the Richmond Marines Col. James Slay Detachment No. 329, the oldest Marine Corps League Detachment in Virginia supported the event.