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Commander Gary Carr, 51, a Lansing Michigan native and oldest sailor in attendance cuts the cake with help from Hospitalman Ceazar Jaramillo, 20, a Ridgecrest, Calif. native, during the cake cutting portion of the Navy's 231st birthday ceremony aboard Camp Virginia, Kuwait. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is currently conducting training in and around Camp Virginia during their scheduled six-month deployment.

Photo by Cpl Matt Lyman

24th MEU sailors, Marines celebrate Navy’s 231st birthday

14 Oct 2006 | Cpl. Matt Lyman 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

For the last 231 years, the U.S. Navy has patrolled the oceans of the world, maintaining a presence on every strategically important body of water, engaging and defeating the nation’s foes at sea, and assisting with logistics and transportation in almost every major offensive ever mounted by the Marine Corps.

Recently aboard Camp Virginia, Kuwait, the sailors comprising the MEU’s medical and chaplain detachments came together at the mess hall to conduct a traditional Navy birthday observation.  The ceremony included a formation, reading of letters from the commandant of the Marine Corps and the Secretary of the Navy, and a cake.

Seaman Cezar Jaramillo, a 20-year-old native of Ridgecrest, Calif., was the youngest sailor present at the ceremony and received the first piece of cake.

“Today’s ceremony was to celebrate the Navy’s birthday to honor the traditions,” said Jaramillo. “It’s been around for 231 years. This is to pay respect to the Navy.”

Some sailors took the day to remember the Navy’s long history and to consider how the actions of today’s sailors will motivate and guide future generations.

“Sailors today are joining what is literally the best fighting organization the world has ever known,” said Cmdr. Gary Carr, 51, a chaplain assigned to the 24th MEU. “The things that sailors are learning and doing will be talked about and remembered for years to come.”

“Sailors today should keep hope alive, keep faith and know that the last 231 years have made a lot of sense, and we will continue to do great things for years to come,” added Carr.

The enduring success of the U.S. Navy can be attributed to their tireless reinforcement of their core values and the concerted effort they display day in and day out to maintain a high level of professionalism and dedication.

“I’m really proud to put this uniform on and do those men proud who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice in those battles that they fought before us,” said Petty Officer Third Class Brent Booze, 30, a hospital corpsman assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.  “Every day I think about those sailors who’ve made those sacrifices so we can be where we are today.”

In his birthday message, the Secretary of the Navy said that in the War on Terror, there are more sailors serving ashore in the desert than are serving on ships in the Arabian Gulf.

“I’ve been involved with 20 Navy birthdays now and they get better and better every year,” said HMCS Terry Prince, the senior enlisted leader of 24th MEU sailors.

“These are Americans who are taking the fight to the terrorists. Sailors, taking the fight to the terrorists and serving their country,” added Prince. 

The 24th MEU is composed of its command element, BLT 1st Bn., 8th Marines, MEU Service Support Group 24, and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (Reinforced). The 24th MEU is currently conducting training in Kuwait.