11th MEU (SOC) celebrates birthday at-sea

10 Nov 2007 | Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti

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 Jim W. Lively
Commanding Officer

Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit