CAMP PENDLETON, Calif -- --
The Marines and sailors of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton hosted their 78th Annual Evening Colors Ceremony at the Santa Margarita Ranch House on Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 29.
The annual ceremony commemorates the dedication of Camp Pendleton and honors the Marines and sailors who helped shape the Marine Corps’ legacy today.
“I would ask you as we celebrate tonight to keep in memory those who’ve gone before us, those who did not return and those who maintain the watch tonight,” said U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Dan Conley, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West, MCB Camp Pendleton, during the ceremony. “Its because of them that we may enjoy the freedoms that their selfless service affords.”
The ceremony featured a flag flag detail comprised of Marines from Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB Camp Pendleton, and music by the 1st Marine Division Band. Distinguished military guests and local community leaders watched as Marines lowered and folded the flag with the setting of the sun, in much the same way generations of Marines have lowered flags on bases around the world.
Camp Pendleton was established Sept. 25, 1942, and is named after Maj. Gen. Joseph H. Pendleton. Today the base spans more than 125,000 acres and is the site of year-round training for Marines and other branches of military. Camp Pendleton is home to two major commands, Marine Corps Installations West and I Marine Expeditionary Force, which commands 1st Marine Division and 1st Marine Logistics Group. Additionally, Pendleton is home to Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, which houses units and aircraft from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
During his address, Conley drew parallels between the Marines stationed on Camp Pendleton today and the cowboys and cattle ranchers who worked the land the base sits on before World War II.
“(The Marines) are not cowboys, but they would recognize many of the same experiences,” said Conley. “They hike many of the same hills, in good weather and bad. They often face very similar long, physically strenuous days, working and training in the hot sun. And they are challenged by everything from the requirements that are inherent in our profession, to accommodating the Santa Margarita River when it’s swollen by spring floods.”
In his closing, Conley thanked members of the neighboring Southern California communities in attendance. Many of the Marines, sailors and civilians working on Camp Pendleton live in the cities surrounding the base
“I am genuinely thankful and grateful for everyone here tonight,” said Conley. “We have come together to celebrate as a community and share a little bit of the history of Camp Pendleton.”