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Lt. Col. Andrew Milburn, commanding officer, Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, speaks to Marines of Company B, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, during their observance of the Marine Corps’ 233rd birthday in Karmah, Iraq, Nov. 10.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarlioti

Marines in Karmah carry on birthday traditions

10 Nov 2008 | Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis

Marines of Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, celebrated the Marine Corps’ 233rd birthday Nov. 10, in Karmah, Iraq.

 Despite being deployed to a combat zone, Marines took time to carry on the traditions and customs of a Marine Corps birthday celebration.

The Marines held cake cutting ceremonies and listened to the reading of Gen. John A. Lejeune’s birthday message, which is read at Marine Corps birthday celebrations worldwide.

 Lt. Col. Andrew Milburn, commanding officer of 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, visited outposts occupied by Marines in the unit to participate in each ceremony and speak about the significance of carrying on the Corps’ traditions, regardless of location.

 “These are the birthdays you remember,” he said, during one of the ceremonies. “These are the birthdays you’ll talk about years later. This is exactly where I’d want to spend the Marine Corps’ 233rd birthday, in a combat environment with Marines.”

 It’s important, no matter where Marines are, to carry on the traditions, said Staff Sgt. Ward, a 27-year-old career retention specialist from Bristol, Conn., with 1st Bn., 3rd Marines.

 “It’s motivating to participate in the annual ceremony,” he said. “But it really means something to be a part of that tradition in a combat environment.”

 The day reminded some of the Marine Corps’ illustrious history and instilled a sense of pride to commemorate its birth in Iraq.

 “The ceremony reminded us of our heritage,” said Lance Cpl. Leonel Menchaca, a 24-year-old forward observer from El Paso, Texas, with Scout Sniper Platoon, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines. “The battalion commander said it best; these are the birthdays you remember. This is what it’s all about.”