CAMP WILSON, Calif. -- Sailors and Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment and 4th Marine Regiment celebrated the 241st birthday of the United States Navy at Camp Wilson, Calif., Oct. 13. The event kicked off with an opening speech from Lt. Cmdr. Arthur L. Wiggins Jr., the 4th Marine Regiment chaplain, who lead the speech with a prayer and continued on with letting the Sailors know the significances of this day.
The U.S Navy was established to protect national interest at sea and at seaports and defend national assets from piracy. The Continental Congress commissioned the Navy in order to intercept British supplies. Upon the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy was disbanded and commissioned as the U.S. Navy on Oct., 13, 1775. From the day of its inception, the Navy has defended the nation and was involved in Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest, supposed maritime battle in human history, against the Japanese Navy in World War II.
“We don’t always recognize the Navy like we should, we should recognize the legacy, all of us have a debt to pay to the Sailors that came before us, to the Sailors next to us, and to the future Sailors, it’s a three-prong debt,” said Wiggins. “Someone did it for us. We do this for them. Duty is not to ourselves, but to our country.”
Wiggins is a prior-service Marine who became a sailor in order to become a chaplain in the Navy and still be able to help his fellow Marines and Sailors.
“Most of us joined the Navy not knowing what was going to happen,” said Wiggins. “We made it less about us and more about the Navy. We single things out and become less about the individual and celebrate the entire branch of the Navy just like our brothers in arms, the Marine Corps.”
Sailors and Marines continued to celebrate the birthday by reading a birthday message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John M. Richardson, read by 1st Sergeant Emilio Hernandez.
“Happy 241st Anniversary to the world’s greatest Navy. Know that all Marines join you in celebrating your proud legacy and are honored to serve with you since 13 Oct. 1775,” Hernandez cited from the commandant’s message. “The men and women have supported and defended our nation with courage and resolve through every major conflict our nation has faced. Sailors and Marines have confronted each threat together. Marines take pride in illustrious history that we share with our Sailors.”
The camaraderie and brotherhood explained by the commandant’s message will go on to reflect as Marines and Sailors go on to participate in integrated training exercises 1-17 at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., in preparation for an upcoming deployment.