MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
On October 13, 1775, President George Washington took command of three armed ships, under the authority of the Continental Congress, with the intent of intercepting any British supply ships. With this action, Washington said, “Without a decisive naval force, we can do nothing definitive.”
Almost two and a half decades later, sailors from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River and the Navy Operational Support Center in Wilmington, N.C., gathered together to celebrate the United States Navy’s 235th Birthday at the Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel in Atlantic Beach, N.C., Oct. 9.
“The theme for this year’s birthday ball is ‘transcending through time,’” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Hill, senior enlisted leader of Company A, Surgical Co., 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “That means not only should we reflect on the history of our Navy, but also re-energize our focus on the future.”
Held in the main dining area of the hotel, the ball commenced with its opening ceremonies and remarks, after which participants enjoyed a full-course dinner with a raffle drawing, which consisted of 100 donated gifts ranging from a $25 gift card for a restaurant to a flatscreen television.
After the dinner and prizes were finished, the guest speaker for the evening, retired Master Chief Petty Officer Dan Whiting, spoke on the importance of the Navy’s progression through the years and where it is destined to go.
“I have served in the Navy for 25 years, which is only 10 and a half percent of the Navy’s history, but regardless of how much time you serve, you have a front-row seat to our Navy’s history in the making,” said Whiting. “In the spirit of tonight’s theme, the Navy has managed to not fire a single shot or drop a single bomb and still do extraordinary things.”
After Whiting concluded his speech, the Navy birthday cake was rolled out into the room, flanked by four sailors. Various birthday dates were called out to the crowd to determine who the oldest and youngest sailors were. Navy Capt. Stephen McCartne, a surgeon with Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, and Seaman Apprentice Jessica Ridley, a general duty corpsman with NHCL were the oldest and youngest sailors, respectively.
As the ceremony portion of the night wrapped up and attendees socialized with their Navy brethren, the theme stuck with them. The Navy has transcended 235 years through America’s history, and is only destined to continue doing so under the watchful eye of those currently serving in the U.S. Navy.