MCB Hawaii celebrates 238th birthday with annual pageant
By Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg
| Marine Corps Base Hawaii | November 15, 2013
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
The young man marched with the blood stripe running down his leg as his trousers tucked into the leather lace, which cuffed his shoes. On his torso he wore a dark coat that suited a fighting machine. He was born in Tun Tavern, Penn., and he shared his story of how he came to be. He was a Marine.
Marine Corps' birthday
Service members, veterans, families and guests attended the annual Marine Corps Base Hawaii birthday pageant at Dewey Square, Nov. 8, 2013. The pageant honored Marines and veterans as the Marine Corps prepared to celebrate its 238th birthday, Nov. 10.
For the pageant, 30 Marines and sailors don distinct uniforms from historical eras. From the Revolutionary War high collar, or “Leatherneck,” to the current camoufl age utilities, each uniform highlights the evolution of the Marine Corps since it was established in 1775.
The uniforms worn by the service members during the pageant are kept on base and maintained year round to reduce wear and tear.
“All of the uniforms are authentic, from the gunpowder used in the rifles to the 48-star flag,” said Robert Keogh, caretaker of the pageant uniforms, and an 81-year-old native of Medway, Mass. “Long story short, I started doing this back in 1992, and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s always an honor to see past Marines honored through the display of their uniform.”
The pageant began as the color guard marched the colors onto the parade field. Marine Corps and Navy pageant participants took to the field one after another to narrate their roles in history before taking their permanent spots on the field.
Representing service members from the Revolutionary War era to present day, the Marines and sailors trotted out of “Tun Tavern,” fighting their way to the microphone to share their piece of the Marine Corps’ story with the audience.
Veterans in the audience who served in the various wars in which the Corps was involved were asked to stand and be recognized for their service.
“The pageant was outstanding, and you can tell the Marines actually care about the roles they portrayed,” said retired Sgt. Maj. James Snyder, an 82-year-old veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam, who served for 28 years, and a native of Dayton, Ohio. “Things like this give the audience a glimpse of where the Marines came from.”
After the actors finished their speeches, six Marines gave a battle cry as they ran onto the parade field to recreate the iconic flag-raising scene that took place in Iwo Jima, Japan, during World War II.
“It was definitely a good opportunity for me to be a part of the pageant,” said Pfc. Victor Mancilla, a reproduction specialist with Combat Camera, who wore the Revolutionary War uniform, and is a 20-year-old native of Austin, Texas. “The show was good for veterans to come out and enjoy while giving families a perspective of how we came to be.”
Before the pageant ended, Lt. Col. Robert Maldonado, commanding officer of Headquarters Battalion, cut a birthday cake and spoke to the audience. Maldonado thanked the actors for their unwavering commitment to making this year’s pageant a success.
After speaking, Maldonado returned to his seat and Marines retired the colors as the participants lined up, represent the service members of each historical era.
“This means a lot to us because we know what it’s like to serve our country,” Mancilla said. “So all of this is a way for us to honor our brothers and sisters who have fallen before us.”