Columbus Marines celebrate Corps’ 240th birthday

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime

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The few and the proud, along with several of their co-workers and friends, gathered inside the Building 20 Auditorium on Defense Supply Center Columbus Nov. 10 for a party.
Current and former U.S. Marines from DLA Land and Maritime and around the world celebrated the 240th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.

While the Corps was established on Nov. 10, 1775 in Philadelphia by the Continental Congress, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune, initiated Marine Corps birthday celebrations in a message Nov. 1, 1921, declaring the day a Marine Corps holiday.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer Orrin Bowman, an Ohio native with 28 years of service with the Marine Corps Reserves under his belt, spoke passionately about his beloved Corps to those in attendance.

“It’s the pride and history of the Marine Corps that Marines today look back upon and celebrate on Nov. 10 each year,” Bowman said. “The current generation of leathernecks can be just as proud of their accomplishments. The successful combat operations conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan equals any historical conflict that the Corps has fought the past 240 years.”

As the guest speaker, Bowman talked about some of his past experiences, including his time as the officer-in-charge for the remain-behind staff of Lima Company, 3rd Battalions, 25th Marines in 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While the Columbus-based unit was deployed to the Anbar province, 23 Marines were killed-in-action and another 34 injured, casualty rates not seen for a unit of its size since the Civil War, he said. Bowman was responsible for making the casualty notification calls to the families affected.

He is currently the president of the Mid-Ohio Marine Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps support Marines and Marine activities in central Ohio.
 
Bowman was introduced by Land and Maritime commander Navy Rear Adm. John King. He talked about how “Americans everywhere take comfort in the knowledge that their Marine Corps remains always faithful in the defense of our way of life.”

He also joked with the Marines in attendance, clearing up a myth that has lived for decades on ships and carriers all over the globe.

“When we drop (Marines) off at the beach, we really do break out the good coffee, and then we have a big lobster dinner,” King jested. “It happens every time. It’s a Navy tradition that we never let you guys know about but it really does happen. I finally let the cat out of the bag.”

The ceremony included the recitation of Gen. Lejeune’s 1921 birthday message. Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, and Sgt. Maj. Of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green, participated in the celebration via a video message. The color guard was made up of Marines from Lima Company, 3-25th Marines.

To conclude the ceremony, in the traditional cake-cutting, Bowman received the first piece of cake reserved for the guest of honor. The second was presented to the oldest Marine, local resident and former Whitehall mayor John Wolfe, who was born in 1936 and began his service with the Marines in 1954. The third piece, in an act symbolizing the passing of Marine Corps history and tradition to the young, was given to the youngest Marine, 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Aaron Alexander-Gibbs, who enlisted in 2014.