Sailors, Marines celebrate Navy birthday in Afghanistan

15 Oct 2012 | Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr.

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - Sailors and Marines from throughout Regional Command Southwest flooded into a packed Town Hall to celebrate the 237th Birthday of the United States Navy aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Oct. 13.

Those in attendance joined countless servicemembers and people around the world in celebrating the birthday of the world’s finest Navy, while simultaneously honoring the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

“It’s a lot of pride because it reinforces that you’re apart of something that’s bigger than you,” said Navy Capt. Theron C. Toole, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) Surgeon and 23-year veteran of the Navy. “You’re a part of something that’s special, that’s larger than you, another family. This is an experience and an organization that is something special.”

Toole was the guest of honor for the event and spoke about Naval traditions and history as well as the War of 1812. Throughout the rich history and expanse of 237 years, sailors have served throughout the world, fulfilling many different roles and proving themselves above the seas, below them and on land.

The sailors currently serving in Afghanistan were afforded the opportunity to remember these feats during the ceremony as a short film on the War of 1812 was shown and birthday messages from the Chief of Naval Operations, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps were read.

“You’re a part of history, I always like to tell people you’re going to definitely be a part of history,” said Toole. “May be a footnote, but if you’re in the service you’re a part of history.”

History was on display as the ceremonial cake was escorted.
Positioned in front of it, ready to do as countless sailors had done before them was the guest of honor as well as the oldest and youngest sailors present.

“I enjoyed being up there in front of the sailors,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Abbott, a construction mechanic and the youngest sailor present at 19 years old. “I’m proud to be a sailor. I was up there representing the youngest sailor, but I can speak for all sailors when I say we’re all proud of what we do and how hard we work and the goals we’re reaching.”

During the cake cutting, three pieces were given out, the first to the guest of honor, Toole, the second to the oldest sailor present, Navy Capt. Patrick Paul, RC (SW) Medical Plans Officer, and the final piece to the youngest sailor, Abbott.

This represents the respect, traditions and customs handed down throughout the different generations of sailors as the Navy moves forward and continues to dominate the seas.