It is time once again for the Commandant’s Birthday message. It is the time when we look back at 245 years of faithful service. Marines have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun. As a result, we have endeared our place in American history. As well as the history of many other nations.
In 1921, legendary Marine General John A. Lejeune established one of the Corps’ longest standing tradition. Since then, every year Marines are read his traditional birthday message. As well as a message from whoever the current Commandant is. This year Gen. David H. Berger, 38th commandant of the Marine Corps, delivers his own message. Additionally, we hear from the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Troy E. Black. These two Marines are also joined by several highly decorated Marines of previous wars. To include MOH recipient, Hershel “Woody” Williams. Watch the full video, and read the Commandant’s message below!
10 NOVEMBER 2020
A MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
If there were a watchword for 2020, the shortlist would certainly include ‘change,’ ‘uncertainty,’ and
‘adaptation.’ This new dynamic and uncertain environment has impacted how we recruit and train Marines, deploy
aboard ship, and even how we honor our Corps’ hallowed traditions. But adapting to change and uncertainty is
nothing new for Marines. It is what we have done for 245 years and what is expected of us as the Nation’s force-inreadiness. Where others see challenges, Marines see opportunities.
We don’t take a knee. We will always be ready to answer the nation’s call, no matter the crisis.
In a world of seemingly relentless change and uncertainty, some things remain constant–our core values:
Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These values are at the very heart of our ability to be, “most ready when the
Nation is least ready.” It’s honor that gives us an uncompromising sense of personal integrity and accountability;
courage that allows us to face any circumstance with an ironclad resolve to do what’s right; and commitment that
binds us together as a family and drives us toward excellence. And while our core values might never change, the way
we give life to them requires constant vigilance. This year’s national conversations about race remind us that we must
all do better to embody our service’s values.
Commemorating the 245th birthday of our Corps offers us a chance to reflect on our history. We who serve
today stand upon the shoulders of giants. While this year’s many challenges are significant and unique, they are not
unprecedented, and it is important to remember that our Nation and Corps have endured difficult times in our past.
This year, for example, marks the 75th anniversary of brutal battles in the Pacific; when soldiers of the sea defined
the term “uncommon valor” on the black sands of Iwo Jima; the 70th anniversary of bitter fighting at Inchon and
Chosin Reservoir; 55 years since Marines landed at Da Nang; and a decade since our struggle with the Taliban in
the Helmand River Valley. We remember the service and sacrifice of all Marines, and honor the legacy passed down
through generations. Our continuing obligation is to honor their legacy by making meaningful contributions to what
From the past, we draw strength, pride, and a responsibility to carry on the warfighting heritage our
predecessors built. We must also recognize our tradition of continuous adaptation–one that should inspire our
current force modernization and innovation efforts. As has been the case in the past, today’s threats require us to
fight as a cohesive team, and our ability to succeed will depend on the Honor, Courage, and Commitment of each
individual Marine. From recruiting individuals of great intelligence, strength, spirit, and diversity, to evolving how
we train, educate, and mentor Marines throughout their careers, we remain dedicated to developing the world’s finest
warfighters, guided by our core values.
In a year of significant change and uncertainty, I am reminded of the words of American novelist, John Dos
Passos, “In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity
with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present…” Never forget, what you do today
becomes the foundation for the generations of Marines that will follow. There is no challenge we cannot overcome,
together, by holding fast to our core values. Happy 245th Birthday Marines.
DAVID H. BERGER
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps
In conclusion, we are proud of our beloved corps, and raise a beer to all those who have come before. Also, we toast those who cannot be here to celebrate. Do you have any big plans for the Marine Corps birthday? Do you have a favorite Commandant or birthday message? Sound off in the comments below!