Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort --
Every year the Navy celebrates its establishment on Oct. 13, 1775, by organizing the Navy Birthday Ball to commemorate the Navy’s heritage and dedication to the country. This year’s theme for the ball was “Defending America with Pride since 1775.”
“Let us not forget those that are on watch, whether they’re at sea or ashore, working so that we can enjoy this ball tonight and the freedoms we enjoy each day,” said Navy Capt. Anne Lear, the commanding officer for Naval Hospital Beaufort. “Every day sailors work hard to keep our seas safe and secure, and I truly appreciate everything you do. In the past it was men and women like you that kept this nation safe, now it is your turn to keep protecting our country, ports, ships and seas until it becomes the job of the next generation of sailors.”
The Navy color guard began the ceremonies by parading the Colors. After Colors, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Marine Band performed the national anthem, followed by speeches from Naval Hospital Beaufort’s commanding officer and executive officer.
The speeches were followed by another Navy tradition: the cutting of the birthday cake. It is customary for the youngest and oldest sailor to cut the cake signifying the passing of traditions from one generation of sailors to another. This honor went to Lear, the oldest, and Seaman Shaquille Lewis, 19, the youngest sailor.
“Being a part of this tradition is something I will never forget,” said Lewis, a corpsman with the 3rd Battalion Aid Station aboard Parris Island. “It was an honor to represent my generation of sailors during the ball, and I can’t wait to be the one to pass on the torch to the next generation of sailors defending our country. It’s an honor to be a part of an organization that makes history each day by serving within these ranks.”
Unlike other organizations, the U.S. Navy does not recognize a single individual as the ‘Father’ of the Navy. They pride themselves in knowing that each individual sailor contributes to the Navy’s legacy, which has grown and been passed down since their establishment in 1775.
“We are the product of not one, but many brilliant and dedicated men and women whose determination and leadership helped create, build and preserve the world’s greatest Navy,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarvis Broom, a corpsman for Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. “Each year during the ball we celebrate our history, traditions, victories and most importantly one another. Without every one of us, the Navy would not be as strong as it is today.”
After the ceremonial portion of the event, the sailors ate, danced and shared sea stories with one another. The remaining sailors made one final toast to the Navy, the sailors that served in the past and present, and to another successful year for the world’s greatest Navy.