ABOARD USS TARAWA --
Some of the Marines and sailors seemed taken aback at first by the royal treatment the swarm of senior staff noncommissioned officers and officers were giving them during their special "December birthdays" meal. Most young Marines had never seen a sergeant major serving dinner with such zeal. Or heard a 1st sergeant ask, “Can I refill your glass with water? Or, how about some bread?”
Half-way through the teriyaki steak however, most started to unwind. The sincerity of their leaders put them at ease and soon their timid thank you’s turned into “Yes, 1st sergeant, thank you, but I’ll have some tea instead.”
Fancy wine glasses were topped off swiftly and smiles and pleasantries exchanged. The lobster tails, crab legs were proclaimed delicious and the double baked potatoes with melted cheese was said to be divine. It caused a young hospital to corpsman remark, that even at his home, he’s never had it quite this fine. On most days grunts would say to him, “Hey Doc, treat this?” Tonight, he said one offered him cake and ice cream as a treat.
But since Marines never cut a cake without a ceremony, the MEU created one that was slightly different and shorter than the rest. There was no message from the commandant, no band, no long formations or locked-kneed Marines falling out. It was friendly and meant as fun.
With tongue-in-cheek, Lt. Col. Shawn W. McKee, read from astrology, and told everyone that those born in December are Sagittarians or Capricorns.
Capricorns make goals and work long and hard to reach them, and are self-disciplined and successful in what they do, he said.
Sagittarians love travel and adventure. They like to walk and at sports many excel, he said. Some look around to friends and gesture that the colonel’s descriptions fit them well.
As the meal winds down, it becomes plain to see, that Marines and sailors born in December are also smart. Many quickly realized they must enjoy the moment while it lasts, because they may never have a day like this again.
*For more information about the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, please visit their website athttp://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu.