Fighting 13th celebrates Corps' 228th birthday at Jebel Ali

10 Nov 2003 | Sgt. Mark P. Ledesma 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Hundreds of Marines and Sailors deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) honored the Corps' founding Nov. 10 during a maintenance and liberty port visit at Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.

The ceremony took place under the desert sun on a basketball court near the port, which the Marines converted into a parade deck.  The ceremony included the time-honored birthday traditions of messages by Gen. John A. Lejeune, 13th Marine Corps commandant, and Gen. M. W. Hagee, current Marine Corps commandant, followed by a cake-cutting ceremony, which included the passing of the cake from the oldest Marine to the youngest Marine present.

For 18-year-old Lance Cpl. Young C. Yi, infantryman, Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, the youngest Marine present, it was a chance for him to experience the Corps' tradition for the first time as a Marine, while also being forward deployed.

"(The ceremony) is just one of those things which makes the Marine Corps unique," said the Los Angeles native, who was born April 9, 1985.

A guest speaker at the event was Rear Adm. R.T. Conway, commanding officer, Expeditionary Strike Group 1.  

"This is truly one of the hallmarks of my career," said Conway during his speech,  "to be forward deployed with a bunch of Sailors and Marines celebrating the Marine Corps birthday."

Conway continued by complimenting the Marines and Sailors of the MEU on virtues they have exhibited since deployment.

"You are making history," he said.  "This history will continue to go on as you (operate) in the Gulf and in the Horn of Africa."

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit