Over 100 Marines of the Griswold Mountain Detachment No. 1121, their families, and guests gathered Sunday, Nov. 10, to commemorate the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. The celebration included the ceremonial cake cutting and champagne toast, dinner, dancing, and a message from guest speaker, John Somerville, Ph.D., Colonel (Ret.) USMC.
Griswold Mountain Detachment Commandant Jim Winney cut the first two pieces of the cake with a saber. These two pieces of cake were then presented to Jack Becker, 91, the oldest Marine present and to Greg Gedese, 30, the youngest Marine present.
This presentation was carried out under the watchful eyes of Sergeant at Arms Jarrett Dean.
Becker, a Marine Corps veteran of WWII and the Korean War was stationed at Pearl Harbor in late 1942. Veteran Gedese, a 2001 Yosemite High School graduate, served in Iraq in 2008 and in Afghanistan in 2010.
William "Ken" Miller, 91, just a few months younger than Becker, was a guest of honor at the birthday celebration. Miller was on Tarawa following that battle and recently was on the inaugural Central Valley Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
"This year, we celebrate the anniversary of several epic battles in our celebrated history: The 70th anniversary of the 2nd Marine Division landing on Tarawa, the 45th anniversary of the Battle of Hue City, and 10th anniversary of the 'March Up' to Baghdad," said a birthday message from James F. Amos, General USMC and Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Guest speaker, Somerville, the Central States Coordinator with Christians United for Israel, had just returned from Israel. The Israelis he spoke with felt that, "Iran is the greatest threat today."
He noted that a question he was asked repeatedly by the Israelis was, "What is America doing?" in light of this threat.
Master of ceremonies, Jerry Bosworth, Colonel (Ret.) USMC, read a USMC birthday message delivered in 1921 by General John A. Lejeune.
"On Nov. 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress," that message said. "During 90 of the 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes."
"A birthday celebration is held no matter where a Marine is on Nov. 10," said veteran Bud Russell. "Even if it is a sip of water from a canteen when you're in a foxhole."