MCAS BEAUFORT. S.C. -- "Resolved, that two battalions of Marines be raised, consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant colonels, two majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions… that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of," reads “The Journal of the Continental Congress,” November 10, 1775. Marines and sailors gathered on the parade deck Nov. 7 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to celebrate the 233 years of history and tradition that resolution began. For 233 years, the Marine Corps has been the premier fighting force of the United States. Traditionally, regardless of location, Marines pause to observe their birthday by sharing a cake and usually a holiday meal. A sword is used to cut the cake as a reminder that they are a band of warriors, committed to carrying the sword, so that the nation may live in peace. “In my mind that cake there represents two things,” said Col. Gregg Brinegar, the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 31, in his speech at the ceremony. “First of all, it represents the traditions that govern the Marine Corps. The honor, courage, commitment and patriotism of our Marines that signed on the dotted line 233 years ago is no different than what each of you have exhibited over the last seven or eight years. “The second part of where the cake is concerned is that it celebrates the birth of our Corps,” Brinegar continued. “That is a great thing, but like most birthday cakes it also represents growth. In my mind it represents our growth as leaders. Whether you stay in for four years or 30 years, each year you look at that cake is an opportunity to reflect on your growth as a leader.” The first piece of cake is traditionally presented to the oldest Marine in the command, signifying the honor and respect accorded to experience and seniority. The oldest Marine was Master Gunnery Sgt. Timothy DuPont, who was born May 16, 1956 in Seattle, Wash. The second piece is presented to the youngest Marine present, just as for years our experienced Marines have nurtured and led young Marines that will fill our ranks and renew our Corps. The youngest Marine present was Pfc. Salita Crane, who was born on March 16, 1990 in St. Louis, Mo. “I’ve been speaking to a lot of retired and former Marines lately and the main thing they have told me is that they are very proud to be a Marine,” said Col. John Snider, the commanding officer of the Air Station. “They’ve always been proud, but when they were in the Marines they were so busy doing their jobs, working 24/7, that they didn’t step back and reflect on just what their duty meant to this country and how special they were, having earned the title United States Marine.” A ceremony similar to this took place in combat zones, on ships and bases all around the world, thereby revealing our unity as Marines to all who attended.