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General Joseph F. Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to Marines, sailors, families and guests, during the 240th Marine Corps’ birthday ball held by the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Nov. 7, 2015. Dunford reminisced about how some of his first memories during his time in the Marine Corps were formed at Camp Lejeune.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher A. Mendoza

Top Dog: Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff attends Marine Corps Ball at Camp Lejeune

7 Nov 2015 | Cpl. Joey Mendez II Marine Expeditionary Force

General Joseph F. Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, celebrated the United States Marine Corps’ 240th birthday with Marines, sailors, families and guests of II Marine Expeditionary Force here Nov. 7, 2015.

Dunford, the guest of honor for the ball, praised the Marines for their accomplishments during the past year, particularly operations in support of crises response and participation during Exercises African Lion, the largest U.S. military exercise on the continent of Africa, and Bold Alligator, the largest amphibious military exercise on the East Coast.

“The first thing I want to do is thank you all for what you have done over this past year and if nothing else just tell you how proud I am of you all,” Dunford said.

Dunford also reminisced about how some of his first memories during his time in the Marine Corps were formed at Camp Lejeune.

“My wife and I have been looking forward to this for some weeks now, mostly just to be back around Marines, and for us, this is actually a homecoming of sorts because this was our first duty station, where we got married, and our first ball took place at this field house,” added the chairman.

Major Gen. Walter L. Miller Jr., commanding general of II MEF, expounded upon the significance of the Marine Corps birthday and celebration during his opening remarks and introduction of Dunford.

“It is evident through all aspects of the Corps, including our hymn, recruiting process, training, and in our refusal to fail on the field of battle, that the Marine Corps is the only branch that recruits people specifically to fight and that’s why I love Marines,” Miller said. “Individually you are as different as apples and oranges but you are linked for eternity by the title Marine and by the fact that you are part of the finest fighting force that has ever existed in history.”