Marines celebrate 234th birthday aboard Al Asad Air Base

12 Nov 2009 | Cpl. Meg Murray

Each year, military correspondents across the globe work hard to put down on paper the significance of Nov. 10 to Marines worldwide. The Marine Corps birthday is saturated with deep-rooted traditions and represents a culmination of more than 200 years of leatherneck pride that is almost impossible to capture with the written word.

Each of these news stories may seem repetitive, but with every year the Marine Corps ages, a host of new achievements and superb performances are added to the long list of the Corps' illustrious history.

Though many Marine Corps birthdays have been celebrated in Iraq in recent years, on Nov. 10, 2009, Marines with Multi National Force - West celebrated not only another year of service, but also the success story that brings the end of the Marines' role in Iraq close at hand.

For over 250 occasions since the end of the Second World War, Marines have been called to do our Nation's bidding, and we have not disappointed, said Maj. Gen. R.T. Tryon, the commanding general of Multi National Force-West and guest of honor for the ceremony. This generation of Marines has demonstrated clearly and unequivocally that they are ready for the challenge, and they have stepped up and shouldered the burden for so many in our great country.

Like many in Iraq before them, Marines stationed aboard Al Asad celebrated the birthday with one large cake-cutting ceremony at a dining facility and then went back to their individual units for barbecues and field meets with their fellow Marines.

There are two types of Marine Corps birthdays out there. One is celebrated at home station - the second type is celebrated while deployed - as has become customary recently, to a combat zone in the Middle East, said Col. Scott D. Aiken, the commanding officer of II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward). Let's take a few moments to remember those who have gone before, the sacrifices they have made, and the accomplishments they have achieved. When that's done, let's get back to work and complete our mission here in Iraq.

For Marines in Iraq, the birthday is not only a time to celebrate the achievements of the past year, but also a time to honor the long line of heroes that have called themselves United States Marines.

This is a day to be proud of your accomplishments, proud of who you are, proud of where you are, and proud of what you have done, said Tryon. It's also a day to be humble - humble to stand in the ranks with that long distinguished line of succeeding generations that have handed us the legacy of our Corps today.