U.S. Marines Stationed in Pasadena Celebrate Corps' 244 Years of Service

Published : Friday, November 8, 2019 | 5:49 AM

U.S. Marines of the 2d Battalion, 23d Marine Regiment stand at attention during a welcome home event after an overseas deployment at Pasadena City Hall on Friday, May 10, 2019.

[Updated] The U.S. Marines have been around a while.

Formed in 1775, the always faithful ones are actually older than the country, which declared independence the following year.

The Corps’ anthem “Semper Fi” (the aforementioned “always faithful”) puts the amphibians at the Halls of Montezuma, when U.S. Marines stormed Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City near the close of the Mexican-American War of 1846-47, and on the shores of Tripoli when the first Barbary war was afoot and American policy was aimed at removing the reigning Pasha.

The Marines have, according to the song, “fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun” and those include the “snow of far-off Northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes…”

In Pasadena, the 2d Battalion, 23d Marine Regiment maintains a Reserves Headquarters and Service Company in a facility at 2699 Paloma Street near Pasadena High School.

And, of course, they serve here in Pasadena, where the 2d Battalion, 23d Marine Regiment maintains a Reserves Headquarters and Service Company in a facility at 2699 Paloma Street near Pasadena High School. The Reserves Battalion is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel David M. Ortiz.

Every November 10, U.S. Marines, wherever they are, pause to honor the moment of founding, according to former Pasadena Mayor and forever Marine, William Paparian.

“It’s often said that every Marine celebrates two birthdays,” Paparian said. “The day they were born and the Marine Corps birthday. And as there is no such thing as a ‘former Marine,’ this day is celebrated by both active duty Marines and Marine Corps veterans.”

For Paparian, that pause serves to recall the brotherhood of the Corps and a day his World War II veteran father would call him with happy birthday wishes.

Such sentiment is not particular to Paparian, but seems to run through the famously proud military branch.

Gunnery Sergeant Darnel Wilson, stationed in Pasadena as the 2/23rd’s Community Relations Officer, is equally moved on Nov. 10.

“It’s the birth of my new life,” he told Pasadena Now. “This thing started back in 1775 and it had a straight path to me. I was meant to be in the Marine Corps. I worked my tail off to get here. It’s everything.”

Marines everywhere stop to pause, Wilson noted. If they’re in the field, it may be over a spare repast from an MRE (meal ready to eat). If they are stateside, in an elegant ballroom over five courses of food is likely — at the Marine Corps Ball, a tradition since 1925. 73rd Birthday Balls celebrating the 244th Birthday of the Corps are occurring this weekend throughout the Los Angeles area.

“It all depends on where you are, but there’s a meal and just Marines hanging out with Marines for a few minutes,” said the gunnery sergeant.

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek salutes the Marine Corps on its birthday.

“As an Army veteran I’m delighted to share in the joy of the Marine Corps,” said Mayor Terry Tornek.

Although he doesn’t consider Pasadena a “military town,” Tornek observed that it is patriotic and home to a goodly number of veterans.

“We think they’re great,” said the Mayor “and are delighted to celebrate this anniversary with them. I’m sure there’ll be some references at the Veterans Day celebration on Monday at City Hall.”

Pasadena’s salute to all veterans will be held on Monday, November 11, 2019 at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Avenue, Pasadena, 91101, at 10:30.

But on Sunday, throughout Pasadena and the world, it’s “Happy Birthday Marine!”

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