MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Service members with Marine Aircraft Group 12 celebrated the 239th Marine Corps birthday by running 239 miles, Nov. 1-7, 2014, aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
The commanding officer and sergeant major of MAG-12 said they set up this event to remember the history of the Marine Corps.
“I think celebrating the Marine Corps birthday every year is important because it reminds us of our heritage. It helps us remember who we are and where we’ve been,” said Col. Hunter H. Hobson, MAG-12 commanding officer.
Although the purpose of the run was to remind service members of their historical backgrounds, they benefited from it in many other ways.
The celebration brought the unit together as a whole, which helped strengthen unit cohesion.
“Often times, we get too busy to go out as a whole and do something fun, which is why I think we need to do this more often, it builds camaraderie,” said Hobson.
Bringing the service members together and building that bond also reminded them that they are all in one unit, that they’re all on the same team, said Sgt. Maj. Sergio Martinez, MAG-12 sergeant major.
“We succeed as a team or we fail as a team and it is important to understand that concept,” said Martinez.
That brotherhood and way of living they learn in the military stays with them even out of uniform, explained Martinez.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, they look back to this event when they’re put in a position to make a choice to do the right or wrong thing and they choose to do the right thing because they don’t want to let all those guys down who were out there running with them,” said Martinez.
Hobson said he would love to see events like the run happen more often because it’s what separates the Marine Corps from other military branches.
“It’s less connected in other services, they don’t identify with their past,” said Hobson. “Our identity is determined by our past. Who we are now is a direct reflection of the Marines who came before us.”
After all is said and done, the Marine Corps, the institution itself, is more important than any of them individually, said Martinez.