CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- In honor of the United States Navy’s 235th birthday, more than two hundred service members from Regional Command – Southwest gathered to celebrate the rich Navy history during a ceremony held on Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Oct. 13.
The proud traditions carried on today by our United States Navy began when the Continental Congress voted to send out two, well-armed sailing vessels on a cruise of three months to intercept transports, carrying munitions and cargo, to the British army in America. This was the original legislation out of which the Continental Navy grew and as such constitutes the birth of the U.S. Navy, Friday, Oct. 13, 1775.
"On this wonderful occasion of our Navy 235th birthday, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for your outstanding dedication and commitment to our great Navy," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West in a letter read by Senior Chief Eleanor Flowers-Jones, senior enlisted leaders of Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward). "As you know, our Navy is the best it has ever been; we’re operating on land, on, above and below the world’s oceans, with the most advanced equipment and technology. But at the end of the day, we are only as good as our people."
Many human sacrifices have been made since the birth of the U.S. Navy, something that did not get overlooked at today’s ceremony.
After all speeches were made giving thanks to those who serve and honoring the traditions of the Navy, 17 sailors came forward to pay tribute to their brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice this past year.
The names were read off with the sound of a bell echoing over the crowd while dog tags were placed on a memorial display of an upturned rifle, combat boots and kevlar.
"It was a way to show that they haven’t been forgotten, and that they are there celebrating with us," said Chief Patrick King, independent duty corpsman, I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD) Headquarters Group. "The sailors wanted to do it during the ceremony in show of respect for those who weren’t there."
Once taps was sounded, Anchors Away and the Marine Hymn soon followed.
A sense of great pride and honor radiated in the atmosphere while new and old traditions commenced during the ceremony.
"I think this is one of the best ceremonies I have been to, because it showed appreciation to every sailor, not just one group or command," said King. "I thought it was well represented amongst the sailors of Leatherneck."