Text by Sgt. Jacob Harrer, 1st Marine Division
Marines and sailors from the 1st Marine Division rededicated their battle colors during a ceremony on the division parade field Thursday.
More than 120 Marines formed for a parade while Maj. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey, the 1st Marine Division commanding general, adorned the battle colors with 25 streamers signifying various campaigns, expeditions, and battles the division participated in since its founding, from the occupation of Haiti in 1915 to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Marine veterans from each conflict since World War II participated by presenting the streamers to Bailey, who fastened them to the battle color.
Prominent guests in attendance included Lt. Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general and the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, Laguna Hills mayor Melody Carruth, and San Clemente mayor Jim Evert.
Battle colors were traditionally carried by troops into combat as a symbol of the organization and a source of inspiration and morale for soldiers in the heat of battle. Today, the battle colors are used in parades and ceremonies as a representation of the organization’s historic accomplishments, including participation in battles throughout history.
“The 1st Marine Division battle color represents our beliefs in our God, Country, and Corps, to include the sacrifice of life by many hundreds of thousands of Marines and sailors who shared a common belief and trust in each other,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Kufchak, the 1st Marine Division sergeant major.
Bailey directed the rededication ceremony as an effort to refocus the Marines back to their heritage and core values.
The battle colors rededication allowed the Marines to reflect on their history as the Marine Corps winds down combat in Afghanistan and returns to its amphibious roots, added Kufchak.
“As you look at the battle streamers… I am reminded that Marines and sailors from the 1st Marine Division are on those battle streamers,” Bailey said. “They’re the ones who made all the sacrifices. They’re the ones who established the legacy. They’re the ones who created this heritage.”
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