Gen. Joe Dunford, the new commandant of the Marine Corps, is featured in a video message celebrating the service’s 239th birthday.
Dunford issued the message celebrating Marines’ Nov. 10 birthday the day after a passage of command ceremony during which he became the Corps’ 36th commandant.
This year’s message includes interviews with Marines from some of the Corps’ most brutal battles, from Pfc. John Lahm, who fought in the Battle of Peleliu during World War II, to Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal, who earned a Navy Cross for his role in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. The Corps’ newest Medal of Honor recipient, Kyle Carpenter, is also featured.
In the video, Dunford speaks about the various missions Marines have been called on to fulfill around the world over the past year, from combat in Afghanistan to typhoon relief in the Asia-Pacific region and embassy evacuations in Africa.
“As we celebrate the 239th birthday of our Corps, Marines are in combat in Helmand province,” he said. “And since we last gathered to celebrate, Marines have responded to crises in the Philippines, South Sudan, Libya and Iraq. Some things change — this year found us in different climes and places than our predecessors. Our organization, our equipment and our training have certainly changed since World War II.”
Other things never change, he added, citing the ways by which today’s generation tackle challenges with the same courage, commitment, loyalty and sacrifice of Marines from past eras.
This year’s message also includes interviews with poolees who plan to ship off to boot camp and earn the title of Marine.
“Honor, courage and commitment means to me that I’ll be able to wear the title of United States Marine on my shoulders for the rest of my life,” said Charles Peterson, a poolee with Recruiting Substation Stafford, Virginia.
Retired Gunnery Sgt. Charles Setzer, who fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, said Marines he talks to today are as eager to wear the uniform now as he was then.
“That makes me feel good,” he said.
Happy birthday, Marines! And tell us what motivates you about this year’s birthday message in the comments section below.