Happy Birthday, Marine Corps!!!

Yes... I get to celebrate 2 birthdays a year.  One of them celebrates the day I was born... and the second celebrates the birth of the world's most fiercely amazing fighting force, The United States Marine Corps.  I was so truly blessed to be a part of this brotherhood for 8 crazy years and, even though I have been out for 2 years now, I still celebrate the Marine Corps birthday with all of my fellow Marines.

I did not end up going to a birthday ball this year... and that breaks my heart.   The ball is a wonderful celebration of tradition and honor where old Marines and new get together, eat together, drink together and party together.  You will hear brand new boots telling their "This one time... at boot camp" stories and Korean War vets telling their battle tales.  If you ever have the opportunity to go... I highly encourage it.  There are time honored traditions like the cake cutting and toasting as well as the reading of the very first birthday address and the current year's birthday address.  It is an amazing thing.

Tonight, DH (also a Marine) and I are celebrating together.  The Marine Corps is what made us who we are as individuals and what actually brought us together as a couple.  We are both Marines down to the core and this day always brings us bittersweet memories as we both miss being a part of the Marine Corps family.

I will close this with a few motivating pictures of Marine Monica and the Commandant's Birthday Address for the 236th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps... Semper Fidelis.

That's me... all the way on the left, leading a mud run during a Corporal's Course that I instructed.

I'm in the middle with fellow Marines, Kat and Tiffany.  This was during my second tour in Iraq.  Kat was an awesome mechanic, Tiffany and I were gunners.

For ten years now, our Corps has been engaged in continuous combat operations
against those who threaten the security of America and our allies. We turned the tide in
the Anbar province of Iraq and continue to see success today in southwest Afghanistan.
While it has come at a cost. .. we have much to be proud of.

This past year in operations around the world including humanitarian disaster
relief, counter-piracy, theater security cooperation, special operations, counter-insurgency
and many more, you continued to solidify our place as America's Expeditionary Force in
Readiness. Since the Continental Congress created two battalions of Marines 236 years
ago, our legacy as an ever-ready, ever capable, victory producing organization remains

Our rich heritage of selfless service and fidelity to Nation and to one another lives
on in all who currently wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor - those who have answered the
clarion call to duty with remarkable courage, dedication and unshakable resolve that
Marines are so well known for. To all Marines - past and present - and especially to our
families ... I extend my deep gratitude for all you have done and all you continue to do.
As we celebrate our 236th birthday, let us look forward to future challengeswhatever
they may be - and reaffirm our pledge to be America's premier crisis response
force; to be the first to fight... Always ready for the toughest and most challenging

Happy 236th Birthday, Marines!
Semper Fidelis,
James Amos
General, US Marine Corps