MCAS FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan --
Marines and sailors with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron ran 242 miles in honor of the Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday Nov. 7-9 on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Beginning the evening of Nov. 7, Marines and sailors took turns carrying the Marine Corps colors a mile at a time. They ran through the night, until all 242 miles were complete.
“This definitely boosts morale,” said Cpl. Joseph Depiazza, an air traffic control specialist with H&HS, MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “It brings everyone together. We all tend to get isolated in our [individual] shops, so it’s nice to participate in an organized run as a squadron. I think this reminds everybody why we’re here, and gives everybody a boost to stay motivated and continue doing their jobs well.”
Two hundred and forty collective miles later, the entire H&HS formed in four columns to run the final two miles led by their sergeant major and commanding officer. With them they carried the United States and the Marine Corps colors.
“To come together as a squadron and run those last two miles means a lot,” said Sgt. Maj. Clement Pearson, the sergeant major of H&HS, MCAS Futenma, MCIPAC. “The run is motivating for me because these Marines are what keeps me invigorated, keeps me motivated to keep going and to continue passing knowledge.”
After completing 242 miles, the squadron held a cake cutting ceremony. The H&HS commanding officer, Lt. Col. Richard Ashford cut the cake, served a piece to the oldest Marine present. Then the oldest Marine gave the cake to the youngest Marine present, representing the passing of history and traditions to the next generation.
Reflecting on the ceremony and motivational speeches from leadership, Marines and sailors lined the sidewalk for their piece of cake.
“It’s good to see that people are dedicated to fighting for what they believe in,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Perez, an air traffic control navigation aids technician with H&HS, MCAS Futenma, MCIPAC. “The Marine Corps Birthday to me is a day to remember the start of something great. It was just a bunch of people who, one day, decided they wanted to go out there and do what they believed was right, and that is fight for our country. Honestly there’s nothing more American and patriotic than that. I believe everybody should have that kind of mindset.”