11th MEU (SOC) celebrates birthday at-sea

10 Nov 2007 | Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines don’t just fight battles in every clime and place, they also have parties. Even in the middle of the ocean.

 Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (special operations capable) celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday, paid homage to their illustrious past and commemorated the founding of their Corps in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 10 aboard USS Tarawa.

 During the ceremony Col. John W. Bullard, the MEU commander, presented awards to three MEU Marines and Sailors and performed the cutting of the ceremonial birthday cake, all while the ship slowly rocked its occupants side to side.

 The birthday cake, created by the ship’s food service personnel, was wheeled out and presented to Bullard during the ceremony on the flight deck of the Tarawa.

 In keeping with tradition, the oldest and youngest Marines received the first two pieces of cake and birthday messages from both the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune were read.

 Col. Bullard addressed the Marines after the conclusion of the ceremony and related the performance of the Marines who fought in the battle of Tarawa to today’s Marines. “The battles of today are different than they were 60 years ago, but the bravery and esprit de corps remain the same,” Bullard said.

 After the ceremony ended, the Marines made their way to the galley where they enjoyed a special birthday dinner, steak and lobster.

 The birthday was one of many holidays that the 11th MEU (SOC) will celebrate during their current deployment that is scheduled to take them in and around the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.

 For high resolution images contact Staff Sgt. Sergio Jimenez at jimenezs@tarawa.usmc.mil.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
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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.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
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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.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
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Sergeant Major DeBarr 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.

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