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Appearing in authentic 1945-1948 Marine Corps dress blues with original regalia, 96-year-old World War II veteran and Marine Raider Cpl. Leonard B. Turner, oldest Marine present, stands next to 19-year-old Pfc. Ivan K. Lopez, the youngest Marine present, during the Marine Forces Special Operations Command’s 244th Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Wilmington, N.C., Nov. 2, 2019. Every year, each Marine Corps unit comes together and hosts a Marine Corps Birthday cake cutting to celebrate one more year since the birth of their Corps. This celebration is an event that brings together Marines, old and young - enlisted and retired, and allows them to celebrate their commitment and dedication to the Marine Corps and strengthen their camaraderie and organizational esprit de corps. This connection between the past and present can be seen throughout many traditions during the Marine Corps ball and is the foundation of this event each year. One such tradition is the passing of birthday cake from the oldest Marine to the youngest Marine, which represents the passing of experience and knowledge from older generations to the newest generation of Marines. The birthday cake is traditionally cut with the Mameluke sword, to honor Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon’s assault of Derna, Tripoli in 1805, as a reminder that Marines are a band of warriors, committed to carrying the sword, so that the nation may live in peace. - Appearing in authentic 1945-1948 Marine Corps dress blues with original regalia, 96-year-old World War II veteran and Marine Raider Cpl. Leonard B. Turner, oldest Marine present, stands next to 19-year-old Pfc. Ivan K. Lopez, the youngest Marine present, during the Marine Forces Special Operations Command’s 244th Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Wilmington, N.C., Nov. 2, 2019. Every year, each Marine Corps unit comes together and hosts a Marine Corps Birthday cake cutting to celebrate one more year since the birth of their Corps. This celebration is an event that brings together Marines, old and young - enlisted and retired, and allows them to celebrate their commitment and dedication to the Marine Corps and strengthen their camaraderie and organizational esprit de corps. This connection between the past and present can be seen throughout many traditions during the Marine Corps ball and is the foundation of this event each year. One such tradition is the passing of birthday cake from the oldest Marine to the youngest Marine, which represents the passing of experience and knowledge from older generations to the newest generation of Marines. The birthday cake is traditionally cut with the Mameluke sword, to honor Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon’s assault of Derna, Tripoli in 1805, as a reminder that Marines are a band of warriors, committed to carrying the sword, so that the nation may live in peace.

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