CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti -- Marines of Battalion Landing Team 1/1, the ground combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), swelled the ranks of Camp Lemonier personnel who honored the Marine Corps' 228th birthday here yesterday.
The Marines followed the Corps tradition of celebrating in "every clime and place" as they joined fellow Marines, other service members and civilians aboard the camp in a mid-morning cake-cutting ceremony that included the time-honored passing of the cake from oldest to youngest Marine present.
Brig. Gen. Mastin N. Robeson, commander, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, spoke to the crowd following the reading of the historic Lejeune's Message and a message from the current commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. M. W. Hagee.
The birthday is a day to celebrate the sacrifices and service of each individual Marine here and those who have come before, said Brig. Gen. Robeson during his comments to the group gathered in the more than 80-degree heat around the deck of the cantina, the camp's outdoor recreation center and the site where service members aboard the camp have conducted cake-cutting ceremonies in celebration of each service birthday.
Brig. Gen. Robeson recalled the sacrifices made by Marines who planted the flag atop Mount Suribachi, those who crossed the reefs at Tarawa and those who made their mark on history earning Marines the nickname Devil Dog at the battle of Belleau Wood.
Brig. Gen. Robeson spoke of the sacrifices made by Marines attending the ceremony, as each is away from home and living in an unpredictable, often-unsafe environment while conducting missions to identify, locate and hold accountable transnational terrorists and all those who harbor them in the Horn of Africa.
Marines of the 13th MEU expressed the pride of being a part of the ceremony here.
"What inspired me were the historical references to our Corps' past and to the sacrifices made by Marines preceding us. His speech made me and others around me feel a connection to our past and the importance of our mission during this time in our nation's and Corps' history," said WO1 Bryan E. Stotts, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer, S4, Command Element, 13th MEU.
13th MEU Marines, primarily embarked on the USS Ogden for Western Pacific Deployment 03-2, are participating in training ranges while ashore in Djibouti.