11th MEU Marine celebrates birthday while crossing Equator

27 Nov 2007 | Staff Sgt. Sergio Jimenez 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

A Marine with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Camp Pendleton, Calif., celebrated her 24th birthday while crossing the Equator aboard the USS Peleliu March 4 during the 11th MEU's six-month deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

More than a dozen fellow command element Marines, including the MEU's commanding officer, executive officer and sergeant major, crowded into the administration work section to sing happy birthday to Cpl. Trisha L. Rodriguez, food service specialist. The Marines shared a piece of cake with Rodriguez, who is considered by many in the MEU as a hard working and all-around good Marine and good person.

Rodriguez cut a cake that was made for her by her fellow food service specialists. Rodriguez thanked the Marines for going out of their way to make her birthday special, as this would be the last birthday she would celebrate as an active duty Marine. She will be leaving the Marine Corps in eight months.

After the party, Rodriguez went out the side of the ship to look out over the Western Pacific Ocean in search of the elusive floating "Golden Buoy" that marks the location of the Equator.
Rodriguez, along with hundreds of other shipmates who were standing lookout, some of whom were on ship for the first time, were not able to catch a glimpse of the mysterious buoy. Many, were left speculating that the "Golden Buoy" may be nothing more than a ruse to make fun of the "newbys" aboard the ship. Some shipboard veterans just chuckled when asked if the buoy really exists.

Rodriguez said she didn't care if the buoy exists, because she was glad just to get out into the sunlight for a few minutes to enjoy one of the most memorable birthdays of her life.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

Read Biography

Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarrĀ enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read Biography