The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Joint Force Headquarters – DOD Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN) workforce and their guests celebrated the 243rd Marine Corps birthday at their joint Headquarters on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, Nov. 2.
The official Marine Corps birthday is Nov. 10.
The birthday celebration kicked off with a recital of the 1921 birthday message from the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune, a message that calls for the commemoration of the thousands of men and women who have borne the name Marine.
JFHQ-DODIN Deputy Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kathleen Creighton, who hosted the event, welcomed the guest speaker, Commanding General of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Director of the Futures Directorate, and Vice Chief of Naval Research Marine Brig. Gen. Christian F. Wortman.
“As we look through the past, it’s really a story about the proud legacy of the Marine Corps,” Wortman said during his opening remarks. “It was really built on heroic service and sacrifice of the Marines who went before us.”
The earliest Marines served as infantry units aboard naval vessels, tasked with conducting ship-to-ship fighting while also providing shipboard security and discipline. Throughout history, the Marines’ role in naval doctrine has always been unique.
As a component of the U.S. Navy, Marines play a major role in joint operations conducted by all branches of the military.
The Marine Corps conducted its first successful amphibious raid at Fort Nassau, Bahamas, in 1776, where Marines successfully landed on the British-controlled shore and within minutes, forced a surrender.
“Today, Marines proudly serve in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the Philippines, and other places around the globe — standing watch, reminding our strategic competitors that we have [offensive capabilities] and we’ll come after them in ways that they don’t expect us to come after them,” Wortman said.
Throughout his remarks, Wortman praised Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller’s birthday message and the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be a Marine.
“This dedication to victory is something we can trace back to every conflict in our history, said the commandant in the video. “It defines us; it defines warriors like Gunnery Sgt. John Canley, a leader who led from the front. With his Marines outnumbered, he pushed forward during the Battle of Hue City, standing tall during firefights and throwing himself into harm’s way to keep his fellow Marines safe.”
Canley earned the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Hue during the Vietnam War.
“The battlefields will change and capabilities evolve. History tells us that true victory comes from the individual Marine — a Marine with steeled resolve, the drive to overcome any obstacle, and the warrior spirit to fight and win against all odds,” the commandant said.
Wortman reminded the audience of the Marines’ fighting spirit during the WWII Guadalcanal Campaign of 1942. There, the 1st Marine Division, supported by naval task forces and other allied units, fought the Japanese for six months, leading to a resounding victory for America. The Marines’ victory at Guadalcanal marked the first Japanese ground defeat in WWII. Following the division’s victory at Guadalcanal, the Corps participated in a series of battles including at Peleliu, Palau Islands, and Okinawa, Japan, paving the way for an American victory in the Pacific Theater.
“The Marines will continue to provide lethal, fast-moving, hard-hitting forces, but we know that on our left and right flanks, there are members of DISA and JFHQ-DODIN making sure that we have the central nervous system required for our operations,” Wortman said. “Thank you for the opportunity to spend time with you today. God bless you and Semper Fidelis.”
Following Wortman’s remarks, the Marines in attendance participated in the time-honored cake-cutting ceremony.
Retired Gunnery Sgt. Tracy Mase – the oldest Marine present, served a slice of cake to Pfc. Chrispin Wilson – the youngest Marine present. The tradition symbolizes the passing of knowledge and wisdom from one generation to another.
The DISA and JFHQ-DODIN workforce and guests concluded the ceremony by reciting the Rifleman’s Creed and singing the Marine Corps Hymn.